Canada has, thankfully, some very tight restrictions on the gruesome science of embryonic stem cell research. But it appears that McMaster University is throwing the first volley in the fight to loosen those reins.
As announced this morning, the very wealthy Hamilton auto parts magnate David Braley has donated $50 million to McMaster for various projects (see full press release here). This includes $15 million for an “embryonic stem cell library.” While this accounts for less than one-third of the gift, it is certainly the focus that Mac wants everyone to see. Here’s how the press release starts:
Donation will create Canada’s first human embryonic stem cell library
June 27, 2007
Canada will have its first human embryonic stem cell library based at McMaster University thanks to a multi-million-dollar commitment this morning from a Hamilton businessman.
The library is one component in a $50-million gift from David Braley that will transform family medicine, and forge new discoveries within the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine to treat such catastrophic illnesses as cancer, Alzheimer’s and spinal cord injuries, as well as common illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.
Who knows what an “embryonic stem cell research library” will hold. Why does it need $15 million? And why is Mac pushing this part of the gift as if it is going to help save people from catastrophic disease?
It seems to be part of a propaganda push from Mac to ease restrictions (passed by the old Liberal government) that make it nearly impossible for researchers in Canada to obtain embryos for destruction. Mac knows where the money flows – the money wants to flow into this nasty little bit of frankenstein science, which both destroys nascent human life, and then opens up the ugly pandora’s box: what happens if it works?
If researchers figure out a way to harness the power of embryonic stem cells, the push will be on to source out the raw materials needed. Who will be donating embryos? No one wants to answer that inevitable question, so I’ll make a guess: poor women in third-world countries will be paid paltry sums by Western pharmaceutical companies to get pregnant and get embryos sucked out into a FedEx cooler – day after day, month after month, year after year. Sickening but likely. So, pro-Embryonic-Stem-Cell-Research folks, help me out here: explain to me how this would be moral; or explain to me a possible alternative that is free of such a moral dilemma.
If I ever get liver disease, and the choice is to take a liver that may have been harvested from a political prisoner in China, or death, I’ll choose an honorable death. If I ever get Alzheimer’s disease, and the choice is to take stem cell treatments from destroyed human life, once again I’ll choose an honorable acceptance of my fate.
Humanity requires standards. Some things are just plain wrong. And as an alumnus of both McMaster and Western (who granted an honourary degree to Canada’s ghoulish abortionist Henry Morgentaler), I have to say, I no longer have an institution to be proud of.