Why stop there?
Dec. 2, 2001
It's actually happened. Hope for millions of people dying with cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes has finally arrived.
Scientists have successfully cloned the human embryo so that stem cells will have the exact DNA needed to ensure that cells and eventually organs can be implanted without fear of the body's immune system rejecting them.
Isn't it great to know that if you become terminally ill, there is an embryo being grown somewhere that would have just what you need to keep living a long, healthy life?
The medical possibilities of embryonic stem cell research and cloning are limitless. So, I can't help but think, "Why stop at the embryo stage?" I'm sure that soon we will have the technology to grow the embryos outside of the womb all the way to term.
Then, instead of just having a few cells to harvest, we could have eyes, hearts, kidneys, and anything else we need. The longer the donor grew, the greater its value to mankind. Science has tried for years to create artificial organs at enormous expense and with minimal success, and waiting lists for human organs are so long that many patients die before they are able to receive one.
Stem cell research will ensure that won't happen in the future. How could anyone, especially the pro-life crowd, be opposed to that?
In a hermetically controlled laboratory environment, donor bodies could be maintained in a state of perfect health. Diets could consist of cholesterol and fat free foods and a strict regimen of exercise would ensure that the bodies were in perfect condition to grow disease-free, healthy organs.
Under the constant care of medical professionals, this donor race would become perfect in all respects. We could clone them by the thousands as a ready source of blood for the anemic, eyes for the blind, ears for the deaf, and new immune systems for AIDS victims. What's not to like about that?
Oh, yes, people like my cousin in Mississippi (backwoods conservative) point out that these donor humans will have feelings and emotions and might not like to live as laboratory animals to be killed for our convenience.
Well, in the first place, this is a matter that should be decided between a recipient and his or her doctor, right? Who am I to judge? Lots of bio-ethicists argue that something as beneficial as stem cell research shouldn't be held hostage to old-fashioned notions of morality.
Besides, most Americans agree with the Supreme Court's decision in Roe versus Wade, which ruled that the unborn have no rights. Clones are technically never born, so clearly, they have no rights.
Still, to make everyone feel better and to help keep the peace (as well as federal funding for stem cell research) we could isolate donor humans from all contact with the outside world so that we don't have to see them and so that they don't know what's going on.
That way you can just order the part you need and never have to give it a second thought. These truly are wonderful times.
So eat, drink, and be merry. Your new liver is on its way.
Zeke Calhoun is Craig Ziemba's liberal cousin from Boston.