Stem Cell Research, Cloning, & Human Trafficking

STEM CELL RESEARCH

Stem cells are non-specific biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can produce more stem cells. They are found in multi-cellular organisms. In mammals, there are two types of stem cells (Embryonic & Adult). Embryonic stem cells are found in a fetal embryo. Adult stem cells can act to repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues. Harvesting embryonic stem cells from a live or dead fetus is a practice which has found opponents in both the religious and the secular community. There is religious opposition to embryonic stem cell research. The moral dilemma with human embryonic stem cell research involves one single question: When does life begin? The Catholic Church believes life begins at conception. When considering the embryonic stem cell debate through this viewpoint, any potential benefit is weighed against the destruction of a unique human life. A fetus or and infant is a human being created by God with a soul and is not to be treated as just a "mass of tissue". Every born and unborn baby has the right to be treated with respect and as such should not be considered a plaything for scientists. The secular view is much more complex. Leading the argument against embryonic stem cell manipulation is the simple fact of ethics. The true medical community believes in preserving life and NOT the taking of such life. One of the other important arguments against stem cells research is that there has been virtually no real successful cure or even a potential for cure found to support destroying the beginning of life, there’s no evidence that a destroyed human embryo will help someone.

Stem cells for research can be successfully obtained from other sources like umbilical cord stem cells, amniotic fluid or adult stem cells. Stem cell research allows therapeutic cloning or genetic engineering of human organs, tissues or embryos we open a door to research programs with devastating consequences. Embryonic stem cell research is a costly and not an ethical way to obtain scientific accomplishments; it takes away funding from more ethical and successful research programs. Adult stem cells are far more effective in treating disease-affected tissue than embryonic cell, as the later have a possibility of being rejected by the body or later develop into a tumor mass. Another strong set of arguments against stem cell research is that some believe that embryonic stem cell is not stable and might on a DNA level carry a possibility of genetic disorders in itself. Stem cell therapy treatments have not been thoroughly studied and could result in the evolution of even more dangerous and deadly diseases still unknown to humanity. Multiple animal studies in the stem cell therapy have proven to be ineffective and dangerous to justify the cost of a human embryo. The final arguments against stem cell research deal with the actual cost of such treatments is simply too high to be implemented on a large scale.

ACTIVITY: A council may organize a petition, collecting signatures opposing embryonic stem cell research, organizing mail, email and phone calls to both state and federal representatives.

CLONING

Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. It is to make human beings other than the method that God has prescribed and created. Some support cloning as a way to achieve methods in which cures for illnesses can be found. All in all, cloning sounds at first to be a help to the medical community and to those who are desperately in need for some relief to a physical malady. However, God is the creator of life and not man. Arrogant men would like to take the place of God and become gods themselves. God created life AND he gave each living human being a soul which no method of "cloning" can duplicate. Other than religious objections which are obvious, secular objections cite the likelihood of cloning human beings simply for the harvesting of organs for transplant. To create a human being only to dismember and exploit that creation is, of course, a travesty of medical ethics. Also there is a danger in the belief that a "pure race" will be "manufactured" for the eventual elimination or enslavement of the "non-pure populace."

ACTIVITY: As of right now, the only activity that can be enacted by councils would be a public prayer service supporting the elimination of the practice of cloning. Organizing a movement to send emails, make phone calls, and collect petitions to be given to your Representatives in the state and in Washington can show how the Knights and their brothers and sisters in the Church feel about the practice of cloning.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The second most profitable business worldwide (after illegal drugs) human trafficking can target ANYONE regardless of age, race, or socio-economic background. Human traffickers use fraud, force and/or coercion to exploit the vulnerable. The two categories, sex or forced labor, generates $159 billion worldwide. To traffickers, human flesh is a "renewable resource". Victims can be used as domestics, prostitutes, field workers, sweat shop workers, and even convenience store employees. If they are illegal immigrants, they will be threatened with exposure to the police, possible jail term and/or deportation. When drugs are seized, they are a loss to the criminals. When a prostitute, male or female, gets arrested they can be put back to work after being released from jail. Those victims are rarely prosecuted so their release from police custody simply puts them back to work. Thus, they are considered a "renewable resource" and are extremely valuable to the traffickers because they can be used over and over again until they are of no more "use". In the sex trade, the desired age for traffickers to seek out victims is 14 years of age. The average victim will "last" 7 years bringing the traffickers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

THE ACTION: If you suspect human trafficking, you may choose to ignore your suspicions or you mayact on them. In no instance should you confront a suspected trafficker. Traffickers deal in violence to their "charges" and to anyone who interferes with those who they "control".The best avenue to take is to phone:

  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center 1-888-373-7888
  • The FBI 1-800-225-5324
  • Your local Sheriff
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