In the United States we have the Constitution with the 1st Amendment granting freedom of religion. Why should those who believe there is no “life” until there is a functional brain be forced to believe that “life” exists in a ball of cells. Is the ball of cells or early embryo just living tissue or is it “life”. Science will never tell us as science cannot prove or disprove the concept of soul. This is a religious belief and a matter of faith. Some believe “life” starts at conception. Others believe “life” starts when there is a functional brain. Under the First Amendment in the United States government is forbidden from deciding this question due to issues of religious freedom.
I can transplant a frog skin cell nucleus into a frog enucleated ovum and produce a frog. This can be done by with any living creature. Does this mean that skin cells are all “life” and that amputation of an arm is murder, just because ALL cell nuclei can be used to produce “life”, though artificially prepared?
Shouldn’t we stop trying to shove one person’s religious faith upon another? Please show respect for the religious beliefs of others who do not believe that a ball of cells (an eight cell embryo for example) is “life”. Those that do not believe an embryo without a functional brain is “life” have no problem with “aborting” or destroying this non-“life”, not non-living ball of cells. Skin cells and other human tissues are alive but are not “life”.
Many believe “life” is a soul and cannot be without a functional brain. Souls do not reside in dead bodies or in lumps of tissue. That is why brain death is defined and it is legal to unplug someone from a ventilator who is brain dead. To bar this across the board would be making a religious decision.
There is a problem with misuse of terms and rhetoric that disrespects religious freedom. Religious freedom is guaranteed in this country. I respect those that believe “life” starts at conception. They are free to refuse to allow their embryos to be used for stem cell research. They are free to refuse to have an abortion at age 12 after being raped by an uncle or when they are carrying an anencephalic fetus (congenital absence of brain). They are free to keep a brain dead relative on a ventilator until the body rots at their expense.
We shouldn’t expect the entire world to be subject to the specific religous dogma of a portion of the population that believes “life” begins at conception and ends when the brain dead body’s heart stops beating even when on a ventilator.
I don’t believe that in a country with freedom of religion where I do NOT believe that a ball of cells is a human life or that a twitching pre-heart vessel in a 7 week embryo (some falsely call a beating heart) that does not yet have a developed brain is “life” that I should be FORCED to have this “religious faith” that some others possess. This is NOT religious freedom. This is government imposed religion.
An anencephalic 35 week fetus (no brain or skull but just a space where you can look at the back of the face and sinuses and the top of the oozing spinal column) is not life to me either because without a functioning brain, there is no life. We call this brain death (or lack of brain) and yet an anencephalic fetus has a beating heart, hands, feet, and a body and fact that twitches with spinal reflexes! Someone who is brain dead has a beating heart but no one argues the right to pull the plug! Phrases such as “I saw the beating heart” or “I saw the arm twitch” mean nothing in the definition of life. Life to me is a functioning developed brain where thought is possible. A chicken with its head cut off flaps around for a few minutes due to spinal reflexes.
As to stem cells. Adult stem cells and stem cells derived from skin or umbilical cords have not yet proven to have as much potential to develop into all organs of the body as embryonic stem cells, which are still the gold standard. You must use the gold standard to prove that the adult stem cells, umbilical stem cells, and skin derived stem cells have the same potential and use as the gold standard. This has NOT yet been done, despite the rhetoric of those opposing stem cell research.
Why should the man and woman who donated their cells to produce a frozen embryo be forced to follow the religion of others. Nothing says that if a man and woman who are “owners” of a frozen embryo who believe that it is a “life” cannot refuse to have it used for embryonic stem cell research. Nothing says that they cannot donate it to a woman who wants to try to carry it to term.
I just don’t want people who do not hold the religious belief that a frozen embryo is a life forced to follow the religious beliefs of others and forced not to donate it for stem cell research. I do believe there should be a ban on selling it for research.
I find it of utmost importance to uphold the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the constitution. Anything less is obscene to me.