To the editor:
Stem cells derived from umbilical cords is leading-edge research, and it is exciting to follow all the success. It also is gratifying to know we have premier scientists in Kansas that are top researchers in this science, one of whom is Dr. Kathy Mitchell. However, Dr. Mitchell does not know my specific views about embryonic stem cell research, and I was surprised to see the Journal-World would allow her to speak for me.
It is clear that embryonic stem cells have major drawbacks because of tissue rejection and tumor growth, but in addition, there has not been any significant success with this research. There also are ethical problems with embryonic stem cells. The extraction of these cells always destroys the embryo. Because of the destruction of human life, this type of research becomes a threat to human dignity.
Protecting human life from the very beginning is certainly consistent with many religions, including Christian and Jewish teaching, and with the teaching of other religions that defend the fact that there is a truth of inherent human dignity, that human dignity is intrinsic, and that human beings are meant to be ends in themselves and not means only.
The public principle of equality and dignity and basic human rights is found in our Declaration of Independence, so it is consistent with the public philosophy and the founding principles of the United States of America.
Fortunately, because of great success with nonembryonic stem cells, we are free to go forward with ethical research that also is showing the most success in leading the way to treating human diseases.
Mary Pilcher Cook,