A False Choice, A False Debate: Stem Cell Research

On Monday, Barack Obama overturned George Bush's executive order restricting funding for stem cell research. A very conservative minority complained about Obama's recent action. They claim it is immoral to destroy human embryos for scientific research, but they are presenting a false choice. Currently thousands of unused and unwanted human embryos are destroyed each year. The choice is between just throwing out embryos or using embryos (that were going to be destroyed anyway) for possibly life-saving research.

Currently, when couples go to fertility clinics for in vitro fertilization, the clinic will often make more embryos than needed. It is impossible to know if an embryo will successfully be implanted or how many children an individual will want. As a result, thousands of extra human embryos are created each year.

A few hundred “snowflake” embryos have been adopted. The demand for adopting “snowflake” embryos is small, and many parents don't like the idea of someone else giving birth to their children. As a result, we currently destroy thousands of embryos a year. Human embryos will not and have not been created for stem cell research. Research has and will only be done on a small fraction of embryos which would have been destroyed anyway. If conservatives want to stop the destruction of human embryos, they need stop the fertility industry.

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