life" is to clear the way for the acceptance of a host of other
research ideas that hold that one life is more valuable than another.
All lives are created equal, regardless of their size or perceived
handicaps, and all lives should be equally respected. Cures can be
found using adult stem cells or even stem cells from skin. Yes, we
would like to help those who suffer, but not at the expense of the
innocent and defenseless who cannot speak up for themselves. My own
mother had ALS but accepted her mortality. I believe she would not
have wanted to have taken the life of another, regardless of how
tiny, to allow for research to find a cure for ALS.
If you have visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in
Washington, D.C., and walked through the exhibit "Deadly Medicine:
Creating the Master Race," you will understand the justification
Hitler used for research on human beings. It is not too much of a
leap from embryonic stem cell research to devaluing the lives of --
in the words of the exhibit brochure -- the "mentally retarded or ill
and others deemed hereditarily inferior and a burden on the national
resources." Terri Schiavo's cruel death was an example of the power
of those (such as judges and her husband) who reckoned her life did
not have value, in the same way that those who support stem cell
research believe embryos have no value.
The common thread in all of these examples is the notion that each
life has a soul from conception to death. Human beings should not
play God and decide who lives and who dies for the sake of medical
Although Susan Bryant describes the embryo as being "smaller than
the period at the end of this sentence, so small that it is invisible
to the naked eye," the embryo is still potential life, and many
believe it possesses a soul and should not be destroyed or used for
experimentation for the greater good of mankind. I believe many who
voted to pass the ballot proposition did not understand the finer
details or the scientific and ethical issues involved and as time
goes on will come to see they were misled by those who support
embryonic stem cell research.
o7* Wendy Leece is a member of the Costa Mesa Parks Commission
and a former school board member.