My good friend and fellow pro-life leader Debi Vinnedge is, as usual, right on top of an urgent matter that will require you to take action. There are now draft guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research that have been proposed by the National Institutes of Health. This came about, as you may recall, because President Obama issued an executive order approving government funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells. This means that each and every one of those preborn human embryos will be killed.
The following action alert willgive you all the information you need to act decisively and let your voice be heard.
URGENT – URGENT – URGENT!
ACTION ALERT: Stem Cell Funding Guidelines open for Public Comment
Written comments must be received by NIH on or before May 26, 2009
The National Institutes of Health has requested public comments for its Draft Guidelines on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Comments may be registered either by U.S. Mail, or by online using the following link: http://nihoerextra.nih.gov/stem_cells/add.htm
While the online form allows you to attach a document, it must be in .txt format, thus we recommend you compose your thoughts off-line and then copy and paste them into the comments section.
Since the on-line form will ask you to "reference specific sections in the document, when applicable", in order to assist you, we have pulled together some helpful talking points from the NIH guidelines and suggested responses we included in our own letter. (See link below)
The NIH states their intention is to create guidelines that are "ethically responsible, scientifically worthy, and conducted in accordance with applicable law." Following are some ideas on how to respond:
Destruction of [a] human [being's] life for research purposes is not ethical, no matter what the perceived benefit may be. The basic tenets of ethical principles state that, "One must never do evil so that good may come from it." Destroying one human being to benefit another violates every moral principle known outside the third world and violates the moral and religious sensibilities of millions of taxpayers. How can one consider any research to be ethical if it only benefits those who are not morally offended? Hundreds of thousands of Americans are refusing to use vaccines produced from aborted fetal cell lines. Shouldn't public tax dollars be used in a manner that benefits ALL Americans?
Despite years of research and billions of dollars poured into embryonic stem cell research using private funds, to date, there has not been one single cure for any human illness using embryonic stem cells, while adult stem cells continue to provide cures for thousands of patients with over 70 diseases. For a list of some of these treatments, see: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/315/5810/328b/DC1/1
In addition, embryonic stem cells have consistently proved that fatal tumors form whenever they are manipulated for use in treatments and because they are not patient-specific, like most adult stem cell treatments, patients will have severe immune rejection problems.
"In Accordance with Existing Law"
Research which involves the deliberate destruction of human life violates every principle found in existing law, including the Code of Federal Regulations 45 CFR 46, (See http://www.dhhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm ) and the Dickey Wicker Amendment, which was signed into law under President Clinton and states:
SEC. 509. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for–
(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or
(2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.208(a)(2) and Section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Ac (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)) (Title 42, Section 289g(b), United States Code).
(b) For purposes of this section, the term "human embryo or embryos" includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 (the Human Subject Protection regulations) . . . that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes (sperm or egg) or human diploid cells (cells that have two sets of chromosomes, such as somatic cells).
In addition, the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to life for every human being. Embryos are human beings – and this is not an ideological fact – it is a scientific fact. Embryos do not start out as some other sort of life form – they are not carrots or puppies that evolve somehow through the development process. From the first moment of the union of the egg and sperm, the embryo has all DNA necessary to become a unique individual, including hair color, eye color, personality traits, etc. Thus, as a human individual, they are entitled to the same protection under federal law as other human beings.
Comments may also be mailed to:
NIH Stem Cell Guidelines
MSC 7997, 9000 Rockville Pike,
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7997
Read the NIH guidelines: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-9313.htm
REMEMBER: All comments must be received by NIH on or before May 26, 2009
Note – this just in from the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, official partner of the USCCB for Action Alerts:
E-mail messages can be sent to Congress and to NIH through the NCHLA Grassroots Action Center at: www.nchla.org/stemcell. People are first directed to send e-mails to their U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators. They are then directed to go to the [NCHLA] web form, where their name and a prepared pro-life message have already been inserted. Before submitting the comments, the user must complete a simple "Security Check" (fill in a random set of four provided numbers). Comments can be added to both messages.
Please encourage your people to visit the NCHLA Grassroots Action Center.
For more information, please see the Action Alert at: www.nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=272.
The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities is preparing a special stem cell page on their web site. See "Oppose Destructive Stem Cell Research," at www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign.
To facilitate people sending their e-mail messages to Congress and NIH, the bishops’ web site will again link to the NCHLA Grassroots Action Center.
Vinnedge, founder of Children of God for Life, prepared an official response, which has been submitted to the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines office, and that response is online: http://www.cogforlife.org/NIHESCRresponse.pdf. Vinnedge invites readers to feel free to use any portions of the letter in your own response. Try not to copy word for word – original letters are always best!