Not Too Late! Speak Out Today Against Human-Animal Chimera Research

embryoThe National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federally funded medical research agency, wants to start funding – using taxpayer dollars – research into human-animal “chimeras” – which, according to the NIH website,  means “growing human tissue and organs in animals through the introduction of human pluripotent cells into early stage embryos of non-human vertebrate animals.” In short, trying to grow human parts like brains and reproductive organs in animals.  The public is allowed to make comments through midnight, Sept. 6. According to the website, “these experimental designs raise questions regarding where the human cells might go in the developing animal and how they might function, such as whether the human cells might contribute to the central nervous system and affect the cognition of the animal.” But Catholics and other Christian churches alike are calling it  an abomination and are encouraging all people who defend the “right to life” to write in against it. “The bottom line is that the Federal government will begin expending taxpayer dollars on the creation and manipulation of new beings whose very existence blurs the line between humanity and animals such as mice and rats. In doing so, the government is ignoring the fact that federally funded research of this kind is prohibited by Federal statute and is also grossly unethical,” the The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote in its comments submitted Sept. 2. “Herein lies the key moral problem involved in this proposal, beyond the already grave problem of exploiting human embryos as cell factories for research,” they wrote. “For if one cannot tell to what extent, if any, the resulting organism may have human status or characteristics, it will be impossible to determine what one’s moral obligations may be regarding that organism.” The comments noted that Catholic morality allows for “the respectful use of animals in research that can benefit humanity. But because of the unique dignity of the human person, there are limits to what can morally be done….”  They further wrote: “It relies on the destruction of human embryos…the dignity and inviolability of human life at every stage of development is a foundational principle of any truly civilized society. The right not to be subjected to harmful experimentation without one’s express and informed consent is an innate human right….” In my book, The Peace Maker (being re-published this month), a contemporary novel about the story of David and Abigail in the First Book of Samuel in which the David and Nabal (Abigail’s narcissistic and abusive husband) characters are running for US President in an election much like the one we’re facing today, I bring out current issues about stem cell research involving human egg harvesting, which is legal in many states in the US and countries around the world, but like the human/animal chimeras, is also highly immoral and unethical. I think we really need to look at these issues, vote our consciences in the upcoming 2016 election, and speak out. To write to the NIH (do so immediately as comments are due by end of Sept. 6), click here: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=57

 

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