Chuck Colson

Last year, researchers at South Korea?s Seoul  National University became the first scientists to successfully clone a single human embryo. And just days ago, the team in Seoul raised the stakes again. They announced that they had found a way to clone embryos in bigger batches: eleven this time, possibly more in the future.

But instead of being chilled by the prospect of producing people on a kind of assembly line, many of our leaders have decided to throw all moral caution to the wind.

As soon as lead researcher Hwang Woo-suk announced the results, many in the media called for an end to President Bush?s policy on stem-cell research. The New York Times lamented that ?leadership in ?therapeutic cloning? has shifted abroad.? It blamed ?political and religious opposition? for ?hamstringing? American scientists by denying them ?federal support.?

The Washington Post was more measured, but it still concluded that the president?s policy ?has outlived its usefulness? and called on Congress to act if the president did not. To his great credit, President Bush has courageously promised to veto such a measure, which is soon to pass in Congress.

Lost in all the hand-wringing are some inconvenient facts for advocates of embryonic stem-cell research: ?Any potential therapy [using embryonic stem cells] is years away from being tested in humans.? That statement is not my assessment. It?s the assessment of that bastion of a secular business worldview: Investor?s Business Daily.

In its May 23 edition, the publication noted that there have been more than 250 clinical trials using adult stem cells. These trials have produced eighty therapies. One of these enabled a Korean woman who had been paralyzed for twenty years to get out of her wheelchair and take a few steps. This was after only six weeks of the treatment.

To date, there have been?read closely?no clinical trials and no therapies produced by embryonic stem-cell research. Unlike embryonic stem-cell research, obtaining adult stem cells doesn?t require destroying human embryos.

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson was the Chief Counsel for Richard Nixon and served time in prison for Watergate-related charges. In 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, which, in collaboration with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, crime victims, and their families.
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