Sunday, September 17, 2006

How to Talk to Democrats About Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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[snip] Because embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) doesn't have the starkness of other pro-life issues, some people may not realize what an urgent issue it is. My wife, a former AIDS and cancer-research technician at Johns Hopkins University, put it simply: When it comes to ESCR, “the problem isn't the cells, it's the person you have to kill to get the cells.” And that's what's wrong with embryonic stem cell research as it stands today: It's fatal. This research doesn't use human beings as guinea pigs, but rather as clay pigeons.

Many senators and representatives with otherwise impeccable pro-life records—such as Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)—actively support ESCR. As Senator Hatch put it, “Human life begins in the mother's womb, not a petri dish or a refrigerator.” For others, there's an admittedly uncomfortable trade-off at work—a utilitarian belief that since benefits will (we're assured) result from ESCR, it is therefore morally acceptable, especially since the embryos are “going to be destroyed anyway.” And, of course, those who are already pro-abortion are going to dismiss those who oppose ESCR as religious fanatics.

As with abortion and euthanasia, those most likely to support ESCR are Democrats. And, like the other life issues, it can be a thorny subject for debate. As I wrote before (“Pulling the Plug: Five Strategies for Talking to Democrats About Euthanasia,” April 2006; and “How to Talk to Democrats About Abortion: Five Strategies for Making the Pro-Life Case,” October 2005), the most important thing you can do when discussing the issue is pray—for your state and country; for your apostolate; for humility; and especially for your discussion partner.
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After preparing yourself spiritually, it's best to familiarize yourself with the important terms of the debate. Here are a few to get you started: [snip] Crisis Magazine


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