Well … hurrah … Barack Obama is set to make the transition to the White House. According to his transition team leader John Podesta, Obama will be very critically reviewing Bush’s Executive Orders – high impact orders that a President can make without necessarily having much agreement or support from Congress or other governmental bodies.
One area here involves Stem Cell Research. While Bush was not supportive of the research, Obama will likely now make a reversal. It’s GREAT NEWS, I think.
Human life is so sacred and wondrous – in all its forms. Stem Cells are among the most precious examples of this. Within them we see an incredible example of the awesome potential and power that exists in the organic matter of our universe.
The idea of really moving forward in the ethical use of Stem Cells in research and therapy is TRULY an exciting one. This will provide such profound transformations in the health of individuals, communities and even whole nations.
Now, the whole field of bio-ethics is never black & white. The George W. Bushes of this world have their role to play in always reminding us never to take the gift of life for granted. Their fuller stance (in its entirety) isn’t the way forward, in my view. It does, however, have an anchoring role - so that as we do move forward we will do so with care and with a cautiousness that always keeps us mindful of the need not to step over the line into a place where we could begin to treat human life with disrespect or as a commodity.
Ethical study and application aimed at embracing, cherishing and preserving life is what this is all about.
The most rigid and restrictive stances on questions of Stem Cell research and use have been a problem. I noticed a good example of this very point highlighted in pop-culture with Chris Carter’s latest X-Files
flick, The X Files: I Want to Believe (July, 2008)
. (I have to admit, my husband and I have been obsessive fans of the X-Files
series and films in years gone by. Among other things, we always enjoy taking in the continual interplay of scientific, spiritual, ethical & religious themes).
***Spoiler Alert (If you don't want details on how the film unfolds ... skip past the paragraph below).***
While there was one storyline in the current 2008 film involving the horrors of the criminal harvesting of human body parts for science and for sale, the other more major storyline looked at the ethical and hopeful use of medical science - stem cell research, specifically. We thought it was quite poignant that one of the central characters, a little boy named “Christian”, could only be saved by Stem Cell therapy. A group of extremely conservative religious elites running a hospital advised and convinced the boy’s parents to give up … but good old Scully (particularly impassioned by the fact that she had lost her own little boy) refused to give up. She wanted to believe. THIS
was the final point of the film. She convinced the parents to move ahead, and despite the risks and potential hurdles that lay ahead she moved forward in treating the boy with incredible leading edge techniques. Scully refused to give up on the possibilities.
I want to believe too. Is this the audacity of hope once again?
I think Obama is one of the amazing leaders who will help this science to move forward in a way that is highly ethical and powerfully transforming in the world of medicine.
Yes we can!!