THE SO CALLED ELIXIR OF LIFE
February 20, 2014
The so called elixir of life
In the ancient story of the Tower of Babel, it was evident that people during those times desired to be like God by stocking up bricks that they thought could lead to heaven. Their actions basically showed their desire for power, fame, and most of all immortality, but thinking that they could reach God was a big mistake because God in all His power outwitted them by confusing their languages which lead them to end their foolish behaviours. Similarly, some people today would give anything just to taste youth and feel alive again and with the new innovations offered today some think that the impossible is slowly becoming possible. Human embryonic stem cell therapy is one therapy which some would claim have paved a way to such experience by reversing the effects of aging. The process of the therapy is through using a seven year old human zygote which has formed a structure known as a blastocyst, which contains a mass of cells. If cells are taken from the blastocyst at this stage, they are known as pluripotent, meaning they have the capacity to become many different types of human cells which is what is being used for treating diseases and regenerating tissues by filling up the gap of cells (Cohan, J.,2007). Human embryonic stem cell therapy as they say is a miracle, but is it truly one? The therapy requires human embryos to be used, which means that in order to prolong one’s life another life must be sacrificed. There is nothing good about something which does not guarantee total success and which will only put lives at stake. It is not in our hands to take away lives for our own consequential benefits which is why Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy should not be legalized in the Philippines even if it may reverse the effects of aging because it has health risks, moral issues against the human embryo, and less controversial alternatives are available. Pro Arguments
Firstly, Human embryonic stem cell therapy is not all that perfect as some would believe. The reality is that there are many health risks on Embryonic Stem Cell implantation. First, when you undergo an implantation it requires you to have a lifelong use of drugs. It is to prevent the rejection of the tissue. Second, “When cells are grown in culture (a process called expansion), the cells may lose the normal mechanisms that control growth. They will need to be directed in more mature cell types or they may form tumours” (International Society for Stem Cell Research). Lastly, when cells were inserted to the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients, results included uncontrollable movements: writhing, twisting, head jerking, arm-flailing, and constant chewing (Hollowell, 2002). So the therapy is not as what you think or what they say that only has good consequences which is why it should not be legalized in our country. Secondly, in the context of using Human Embryonic stem cell therapy there is truly a moral issue. As human beings and not as God, who are we to take away such innocent lives for self-purposes? Lives that could have developed into the brightest of people if they had been given the chance too, but sadly are being used as lab rats in researches and as cure for illnesses that do not even guarantee total success only leading to more wastage of lives. Human embryos are indeed human beings and, as such deserve respect rather than being used as disposable research material (George, R. & Lee, P., 2009). Just because a human embryo does not physically look human it does not mean it isn’t a human person who does not deserve equal protection as other people. A human embryo in its purest form never develops into a pig, a frog, or a tree but rather into a human (Harrison, D., 2003) which is why it should not be excluded from having ‘human’ rights. Our constitution even supports this in the Bill of Rights, Art. III. Sec. 1 which is the right to life (Philippine...
References: Cohan, Jim (2007). Stem cell therapies. Retrieved from: http://www.stemcelltherapies.biz/learning/what_is_a_stem_cell.asp
George, R., & Lee, P. (2009). Embryonic human persons. Talking point on morality and human embryo research. United States Journal List, Embo Reports, 10(4): 301-306, doi: 10, 1038 lembor.2009.42
Harrison, D. (2013). When does life begin? Medical experts debate abortion issue. Retrieved from: http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com/2013/02/07/when-does-life-begin-medical-experts-debate-abortion-issues/
Philippine Constitution 1987, (2011). Quezon City: Rex Printing Company, inc.
Hollowell, K. (2002). Ten problems with embryonic stem cell research. Acts and Facts. 31(2). Retrieved from: http://www.icr.org/article/ten-problems-with-embryonic-stem-cell-research/
International Society for Stem Cell Research, (N.D) Retrieved from: http://www.closerlookatstemcells.org/Frequent-Questions.html
Ganong, William F. (2003), Weiss, Rick (2005). Institute for creation research: Stem Cell Research – Doing Evil to Do Good. Retrieved from http://www.icr.org/article/stem-cell-researchdoing-evil-do-good/
Adult Stem Cell, (N.D). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/adult-stem-cell.htm
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