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Stem-cell research?

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Stem-cell research?

Postby Emma_85 » Sat Nov 06, 2004 10:45 am

Now I know this is a very difficult subject to discuss as I imagine some people's emotions might be very strong on this subject, but it's also very interesting and relevant for the world we live in today. Many countries have approved stem-cell research and are already looking to cure many diseases.
This raises many questions I think. No only if it is morally correct, although that is of fundamental importance too, but also if it is then morally correct to use the cures other countries come up with. Let me put it this way. what if the US government bans all stem-cell research, but in China they don’t and find a cure for cancer (or some other disease), will this cure for cancer be banned in the US, so depriving all citizens from the cure, or will it be allowed as it's not American embryos that are being killed but Chinese ones (probably from some poor people)? Or will the cure only be available to rich private patients and all the poor can just die?
i.e. can rich countries really just allow themselves to say: urgh, we don't want to do experiments on embroys, we'll let poorer countries do it for us?

Why is stem-cell research going to be banned anyway? Abortions are allowed and so is IVF treatment (many eggs are ‘produced’ and only a few used, the rest killed). Both abortions and IVF treatment do not really benefit the whole population as much as the possible results of stem-cell research, so shouldn’t they be banned too if stem-cell research is banned because of being morally wrong?
I don’t think anyone will ban IVF treatment though, so in an ideal world the left over embryos, which are going to be killed anyway, could be used for stem-cell research, that way you don’t have any more embryos being destroyed than before and at the same time the population stand to benefit.

I understand that some Christians believe that yes, IVF, abortions and stem-cell research must all be banned. But don’t you think it’s strange that there is all this commotion about stem-cell research, when IVF kills much more embryos? Or is there is fact a huge lobby to ban IVF in the US too and I just haven’t heard of it before? Just wondering why it is that IVF is allowed and not banned but stem-cell research so criticized.
You can tell I think, that if one thing should be banned in my opinion it is IVF treatment not stem-cell research. Yes, sure couples which can’t have any kids are probably really unhappy, but hey, there are adoption services. So I’m not sure why people are so up in arms about stem-cell research when millions of embryos are being killed through IVF treatment and there is the option of using these embryos for scientific research.
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Postby classicalclarinet » Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:41 pm

I do not beleive there is a huge anti-IVF lobby.Stem cell research is not banned, but not funded properly. So the question lacks pith, but still a pretty good one. I've not read the paper in a few days yet ("FOUR MORE YEARS" and my blood curdles) but I have not heard about moves to ban it.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Nov 06, 2004 9:53 pm

Oh, I thought Bush was going to ban it. Hmm... maybe I should not believe everything I read online :wink: , maybe that was just wishful thinking of one of the Bush-supporters. I think you are right though, I'm getting really mixed up. :(

Better wait and see what Bush really does.

Edit:
Ok, I've read up a bit on the US government's approach to stem-cell research in a copy of the Scientific American. Research can only be carried out on certain sanctioned samples and apparently those "cells lines are fewer than promised and have many limitations and may be unsuitable for future therapeutic applications." "A conspicuously missing partner in that progress is the U.S. government."

It's just that Kerry was saying how he'd make it all legal and so on and all the Bush supporters attacking that and saying how Bush would do everything differently that confused me into thinking Bush was going to ban it completely. Seems from the current government policy that he's as yet undecided really. No ban, but no great aid or funding or anything like that really either.
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Postby Rhuiden » Sun Nov 07, 2004 1:44 am

There are currently around 70-75 lines available for stem cell research. Of those, I think I heard that 20 or so of them are being used. Bush's position is that these lines were already active when he was elected so he decided not to stop them but that no more should be started.

I have heard that these stem cells can come from various sources, not just murdered unborn children. If this is true, then it is appalling not to acquire them from these other sources. Also, it is only speculation that these cells will lead to the cures for anything.

The question about whether or not US citizens should use the cure (if one was to be found) discovered from stem cell research in another country presents an interesting ethical dilema. I will have to think on this a bit before answering.

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Postby classicalclarinet » Sun Nov 07, 2004 1:50 am

If this is true, then it is appalling not to acquire them from these other sources.


If medical reasrchers thought that adult stem cell lines were more promising, then why would they use controversial fetal lines? :wink:
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Postby Democritus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:29 am

Emma_85 wrote:Oh, I thought Bush was going to ban it.


Sometimes in the media people talk about "stem cell research," when what they really have in mind is "embryonic stem cell research." The controversy is about the embryos, not stem cells per se. There are other sorts of stem cells, apparently. But some researchers want to focus on embryonic stem cells.

Here in California they just passed a statewide initiative to put three billion dollars into stem cell research. I voted against it, because they are paying for it with bonds, which means more debt for the state. I haven't really examined the ethical side of stem cell research, but for this bond intitiative, it didn't matter, since I'm opposed to almost all government debts, and certainly opposed to any additional debt for California. California should cut up its credit cards immediately. :(
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Postby classicalclarinet » Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:32 am

wow. 3 billion. with that you could literally buy a small country.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 1:58 pm

Yes, I did read about the Californian ballot.
:-) at last I have a subscription number and a password for NewScientist online archive. I'll just check up about the differences between embryonic stem-cells, stem-cells from clones and adult stem-cells.
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Postby EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:19 pm

The argument most people use for fetus-harvesting(litteral term for "stem-cell" research)) is that the kid is going to die anyway why not use his stem-cells? If someone were killing my next door-neigbors left and right I would have two chocies, to benefit from it and steal their belongings or to to do the right thing and try to stop the killings.

We have the same 2 choices on abortion, do we turn a blind eye to murder(def. of murder is killing a human and a fetus is at all points of devel. a human)and harvest their organs for our benefit, or we can do the right thing, if you consider it right not to kill humans, and try to stop the killing.

Humans love getting away with things if they can justify it. So we will continue to steal from our neighbors and helpless fetus' after they die, "I mean, they are dead, why do they need that for." Such a sad day when people try to justify hravesting dead children like grape orchards.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:25 pm

Other scientists are focusing their efforts on embryonic stem cells, as they believe only these are versatile enough to give rise to all the tissues of the body. By using the right growth factors, it seems possible to nudge embryonic stem cells down different pathways to become any tissue type at all. The stem cells come either from spare embryos left over from infertility treatments, or in some cases from deliberately created ones.

[...]

But any research involving embryos is massively controversial, whether they are deliberately created ones, IVF spares, or clones. The issue is centre-stage in the US general election, with right-wing anti-abortion groups firmly against any research involving embryonic stem cells (see US election special, this issue).
NewScientist

For some envisioned therapies, it might nonetheless be useful to briegly create an embryonic clone of an adult for the purpose of extracting stem cells.
sciam

As for countries already investing heavily in stem-cell research, for one there's Singapore:

[...] ES Cell International was another obvious choice for Biopolis. Along with cancer and infectious disease studies, embryonic (and adult) stem cell research is a must-have for the BMRC. Alan Colman, chief scientific officer at ES Cell International and a co-creator of Dolly the sheep, came to Singapore in 2002 in large part because the government was willing to invest in the company. "There was finance available here which was quite frankly impossible to get elsewhere," he says.

Singapore also has a solid history of breakthrough stem cell work. In 1994, for instance, a group led by Ariff Bongso of the state's National University Hospital was the first to successfully isolate embryonic stem cells, and Patrick Tan of the Singapore General Hospital has pioneered transplants of blood-forming stem cells from bone marrow to treat diseases such as aplastic anaemia.

And as well as actively encouraging stem cell research, Singapore is "permissive" compared with countries such as the US. Legislation very similar to that in the UK, which allows stem cells to be extracted from cloned embryos up to 14 days old, was passed by parliament on 2 September. Though until then, says Colman, "people assumed that these rules and regulations were already in existence". He hopes that within a year his team will be able to cure diabetic animals using stem cells that develop into insulin-producing islet cells. And for basic research to support this work, Colman can call not only on his own team but on publicly funded researchers. A fifth of Colman's salary is paid by the new Centre for Molecular Medicine, set up to translate research into treatments. [...]
NewScientist

What are stem cells?
Unlike the vast majority of cells in the body, which are "specialised" as neurons, muscle or bone, say, stem cells are blank slates that can develop into many different tissue types and renew themselves indefinitely.

The early embryo consists of a ball of stem cells. As these multiply, increasing numbers specialise or "differentiate" into various tissues to form the developing organs, although a small number remain in the body as semi-specialised stem cells, even into adulthood. Bone marrow is a rich source of adult stem cells that produce blood cells, as these need to be constantly replenished throughout life. And various other tissues such as muscle and brain seem to have small numbers of adult stem cells with limited repair capacity.


It seems that you can use adult stem-cell sometimes, but they ae increadibly difficult to find so actually you can only use ones from embryos or create clones, which has the huge benefit that the stem-cells then match the patients DNA. It seems that it should be quite easy to just pass a law saying that the embryonic stem-cells should only come from left over embroys from IVF treatments, but then you are left with the difficulty of those who want to use stem-cells from clones.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:29 pm

EmptyMan wrote:We have the same 2 choices on abortion, do we turn a blind eye to murder(def. of murder is killing a human and a fetus is at all points of devel. a human)and harvest their organs for our benefit, or we can do the right thing, if you consider it right not to kill humans, and try to stop the killing.


But it's not about using the stem-cells of aborted embryos, but of those from IVF treatment. Many couples undergo fertility treatment and many embryos must be fertilised it seems, but they only use about 2 or 3 I think, the rest either get destroyed or used for research.
You're against abortion, are you against IVF too? You didn't say.

The argument most people use for fetus-harvesting(litteral term for "stem-cell" research)) is that the kid is going to die anyway why not use his stem-cells


So are you just against stem-cell research, even if the embryos are from IVF (not abortions, that's not how it works), because it involves embryos?
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Re: Stem-cell research?

Postby EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:34 pm

I understand that some Christians believe that yes, IVF, abortions and stem-cell research must all be banned.


Why do people single out Christians as if only they oppose abortions? Abortion has nothing to do with religion. Atheists and Christians oppose abortion. The arguments coming from the abortion people are really lame:

1. Fetus is not human.
2. fetus is not alive.

Neither og these arguments ever hold up under proper examination very long. So are Christians and atheists ignorant when they say killing a human is wrong no matter what point of development they are at? And are they ignorant when they say a fetus is alive?(btw how do you kill an inatimate opbject.) It does not take religion to know abortion is wrong, only comman sense, and saying "the fetus aint human" and "the fetus aint alive" is not common sense nor is it scientifically justifiable.

But don’t you think it’s strange that there is all this commotion about stem-cell research, when IVF kills much more embryos? Or is there is fact a huge lobby to ban IVF in the US too and I just haven’t heard of it before? Just wondering why it is that IVF is allowed and not banned but stem-cell research so criticized.


No it is not strange for people to be outraged about someone killing a child and then harvesting his organs for stem-cells. Letting someone kill your neighbor is bad, but letting someone kill your neighbor and then stealing from their home is even worse.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:36 pm

Rhuiden wrote:The question about whether or not US citizens should use the cure (if one was to be found) discovered from stem cell research in another country presents an interesting ethical dilema. I will have to think on this a bit before answering.


Yes, i thought it was an interesting question too. i've also found out a bit more on the US policy concerting stem-cell research:

STEM cells have a higher profile during the 2004 presidential campaign than any other scientific issue. And Americans have a clear choice. Vote Bush, and his policy of restricting federal research into embryonic stem cells will continue. Vote Kerry and such fetters will be removed.

[...]

But critics say Bush's stance has little to do with morality. "Believe me, the political operatives in the White House are not sitting around talking about the morality of this," Ron Reagan, son of former president Ronald Reagan, told New Scientist. "They are talking about the political math. And that is just offensive."

[...]

Democratic congressman Brian Baird says that Bush's policy is morally inconsistent, particularly the stipulation that embryonic cell lines created before August 2001 can be used in federal research, but not those created after. "It's absolutely a sell-out," he says. "It's not about science. It's not about truly valuing human life. It's about sucking up, frankly, to a political lobby group."

Another apparent inconsistency is the lack of restrictions on researchers working in the private sector. True, this reflects historical precedent, as private research is not traditionally seen as an area for federal regulation. But Democratic congressman Henry Waxman says that Bush has been trying to have it both ways. "He claims to have an important principled position in the policy on federal research while his administration boasts about the amount of private research."
NewScientist
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Postby EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:44 pm

We have the same 2 choices on abortion, do we turn a blind eye to murder(def. of murder is killing a human and a fetus is at all points of devel. a human)and harvest their organs for our benefit, or we can do the right thing, if you consider it right not to kill humans, and try to stop the killing.


But it's not about using the stem-cells of aborted embryos, but of those from IVF treatment. Many couples undergo fertility treatment and many embryos must be fertilised it seems, but they only use about 2 or 3 I think, the rest either get destroyed or used for research.
You're against abortion, are you against IVF too? You didn't say.


Yes I am opposed to IVF. I beleive it is dangerous to have conception in a lab, we should not be playing around with people like this. Who knows the dangers of genitic and gender engineering? No one. So I will not get up in line and encourage research that could lead to huge problems once the child is born nor will I support constant creation of humans only to get stem-cells.
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Re: Stem-cell research?

Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:48 pm

EmptyMan wrote:Why do people single out Christians as if only they oppose abortions? Abortion has nothing to do with religion. Atheists and Christians oppose abortion.


Yes, of course there are many people who oppose abortion whatever their religion. I personally am against abortions. But it seems that Christians in particular are against IVF, abortion and stem-cell research, not all of them of course and there many be some who are not religious and are against all these things, but the majority are very religious as they believe in the 'sanctity' of life.

The arguments coming from the abortion people are really lame:

1. Fetus is not human.
2. fetus is not alive.


I agree that these arguments are lame. But these are not the arguments I would bring up if I were someone supporting abortion, and as I said, I am against abortion. An embryo I think is alive, it has the chance of one day becoming a human. But it is not yet a human, it cannot feel or think.

No it is not strange for people to be outraged about someone killing a child and then harvesting his organs for stem-cells. Letting someone kill your neighbor is bad, but letting someone kill your neighbor and then stealing from their home is even worse.


The point is that these embryos from IVF will die anyway though. Dead straight away they do not help the living, dead a few days later they do though. If you knew you were going to die in a few days and you also knew you had the same blood group your sister has and that she suffers from a liverdisorder that will kill her. Won't you sign a form saying you wish your liver to be donated to your sister so that she can live until she's like 80 instead of dying at 20?
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:56 pm

EmptyMan wrote:Yes I am opposed to IVF. I beleive it is dangerous to have conception in a lab, we should not be playing around with people like this. Who knows the dangers of genitic and gender engineering? No one. So I will not get up in line and encourage research that could lead to huge problems once the child is born nor will I support constant creation of humans only to get stem-cells.


Ah, ok thank you for that answer. I wanted to know this because if you were pro-IVF but anti-stem-cell research I think that would be strange. As I just said what seemed so strange to me is that IVF is allowd but stem-cell research is hampered.
I also checked up IVF risks:
ARE the millions of children conceived by the fertility treatments IVF and ICSI as healthy as those conceived the old-fashioned way? Apart from the increased chance of multiple births and all the associated health risks, the answer seems to be mostly yes, according to the largest review yet.
NewScientist
As for the issues of ppl searching through the eggs to find ones with the right sex and possibly no genetic disorders, I believe that in some cases it should be allowed to genetically screen the embryos, but that it should normally be strictly prohibited.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:23 pm

Ok, I just read in the other thread in the open discussion forum that people in the US are selling their fetuses to private firms for money. I find that disgusting and I really think that the US has got it's policies wrong if it allows private companies to do what ever they want. They should not be allowed to do such things, I think now I understand your comments a little better EmptyMan, sorry that I didn't before, I just didn't know how totally wrong things are in the US right now. I think that this sort of policy, which does not place any real restriction on how private companies obtain the stem-cells is just totally wrong.
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Postby EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:51 pm

It is messed up. And Bush who calls himself a Christian has more fear of special interest groups than he does of God. Selling your aborted fetus to private firms is not illegal and I would suspect that many abortion doctors do this for an added profit.
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Re: Stem-cell research?

Postby Democritus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:24 pm

EmptyMan wrote:Why do people single out Christians as if only they oppose abortions?


Emma's comments did not single out Christians. She mentioned Christians, but didn't rule out anyone else.

EmptyMan wrote:Abortion has nothing to do with religion. Atheists and Christians oppose abortion.


Yes, and many Christians are pro-choice, too. You are quite right to point out that abortion has nothing to do with religion, because many faithful Christians do not agree with this assertion that a single-celled embryo is a human being, in the same sense that a baby is a human being.

But Emma, you understand, for pro-life Christians, this idea is a dogma. They consider it to be received wisdom from God. Life begins at conception, period, end of story. If you want a big long argument that never ends, this is the perfect topic.

If anyone is looking for a forum on this topic, there are active debaters on both sides of this issue, here:

http://bible-discussion.com/message-boa ... rum-5.html

Is this question a heated debate in Germany or the UK? How much of a political issue is it over there? Is anyone trying to prevent this research over there?
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Postby Democritus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:30 pm

classicalclarinet wrote:wow. 3 billion. with that you could literally buy a small country.


It's even worse than this. Once they pay the interest on the bonds, the final price will be closer to 6 billion. So we get 3 billion dollars of research, for the low, low price of 6 billion dollars. Neat, huh?

Governor Schwarzenegger supported this. :shock:
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:48 pm

Thanks for the link Democritus.

Is this question a heated debate in Germany or the UK? How much of a political issue is it over there? Is anyone trying to prevent this research over there?


In Germany - no. That is of course there are discussions on it, but no where near as many as in the US. I don't even know if the 'Ethikrat' (which is a panel made up of people who are specialists when it comes to if things are ethical or not and who advise the German parliament) has already debated this or not - that's how little interest or should I say controversy over the subject. It's not seen as such a big issue. I'm also guessing that the EU has quite a large say in what's going to be allowed and what not.
As for the UK I know that stem-cell research has been given the go-ahead, not all too many protests either as far as I know.
As far as I know the UK has much more liberal laws than German has regarding stem-cell research.
I'd better do a google search for German laws...
Hmm... precious little information, but what I did find was interesting.
I can't find any information on German institutes using stem-cells from 'German' embryos. I'm guess there for that this is forbidden by some law or other. Now I also recall that all debates on TV were about importing embryonic stem cells from the US.
As for laws being passed in Germany things are very chaotic with laws being passed and then new ones which change the already existing ones every few weeks. The Ethikrat was asked on whether to allow the import of embryonic stem cells from the US and they voted no. But at one time it was allowed that you could import embryonic stem cells from the US, but every single case would have to be monitored and approved of by the Ethics commission. Then they took back that law and said no imports. Then they changed it again so that it's illegal except in special cases, i.e. again the ethics commission must allow it. It is not even being debated to clone embryos in German or uses some from German fertility clinics.
Last edited by Emma_85 on Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stem-cell research?

Postby EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:48 pm

But Emma, you understand, for pro-life Christians, this idea is a dogma. They consider it to be received wisdom from God. Life begins at conception, period, end of story.


I think it's a little unfair to say that Christians beleive their ideas on abortion is wisdom from God. Yes, this is what I would call dogma but fortunatly is is scientifically justifiable to say the single-celled embryos are human and as I have said earlier it's argumental suicide to say that life does not begin at conception. A life begins at conceptiopn, no doubt, but what you do with that life depends on how much you value it.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:53 pm

I forgot to say that I think the German laws aren't that bad, but I would be happier if they used ones from German IVF clinics and not from America. But it allows stem cell research but only if the instituions or companies can convince and ethics panel that they are really going to be doing proper research which has potential benefits. that should stop people being 'wasteful' with embryos, but it probably makes it expensive and will probably limit what scientists can do.
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Postby Turpissimus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:53 pm

Is this question a heated debate in Germany or the UK? How much of a political issue is it over there? Is anyone trying to prevent this research over there?


In the UK the position wrt abortion/stem cells/cloning is a good deal more settled. For a couple of reasons -

1) The culture is a good deal more secular. The Bible does not directly influence the beliefs of the population. So the large constituency of evangelical christians a priori opposed to embryonic stem cell research is quite simply absent.

2) Even among "supporters" of abortion, and I use that word advisedly, there is less militant rhetoric. No mainstream UK politician, so far as I am aware, believes that an abortion is a woman's absolute right, able to be exercised in all circumstances. Perhaps the presence of an evangelical christian movement dedicated to banning abortion completely has galvanised the troops somewhat. Or it could be that well-known tendency in UK politics to reduce matters of principle to technocratic discussions.

As for your question about research, I have heard that several US scientists have come to the UK for what several newspapers have called the more relaxed research climate. However, I think we should take the idea that UK legislation allows a free-for-all with a grain of salt. The US president may have cut off government funding but there is not, so far as I am aware, any kind of sensible regulatory framework* in place covering issues like cloning and the other uses of embryos. Therefore, private enterprise is somewhat less restrained than it is in the UK, where the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority checks the more outrageous use of these techniques. In 2001 the Parliament voted to allow licensed therapeutic but not reproductive cloning, so you could say that the regulation in the UK is more restrictive, but, as a man who does not want to see reproductive cloning, I welcome this.

*in 98, 01, and 03 the House of Reps voted to outlaw all cloning, therapeutic and reproductive, but divisions in the Senate prevented the Bill from passing.
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Postby EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 5:04 pm

Thanks Turpissimus and Emma. It's very interesting to see how different the American and European sentiment are on abortion.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 5:16 pm

2) Even among "supporters" of abortion, and I use that word advisedly, there is less militant rhetoric. No mainstream UK politician, so far as I am aware, believes that an abortion is a woman's absolute right, able to be exercised in all circumstances. Perhaps the presence of an evangelical christian movement dedicated to banning abortion completely has galvanised the troops somewhat. Or it could be that well-known tendency in UK politics to reduce matters of principle to technocratic discussions.


Turpissimus, you're absolutely right. In Germany the laws on abortion are thougher than in the US, just as regulations on stem-cells are more restrictive in both German and the UK and it's probably because the debates here are more rational as you don't have the 'radical' interests groups that you find in the US. Abortions are allowed in Germany for example, but just as with this ethics commission to check every case on embryonic stem-cell imports, you need to have an ethic-panel to decide on every single abortion (loads of forms, you need doctors and ethics advisors to consent and all that sort of thing, you need to go on a family planning course and all that (free of course, as is all health care) and it's only allowed up until a certain date in the pregnancy very early on, after that all abortions are illegal. There are no abortion clinic or anything like that in Germany either. Having special clinics just for abortion is a scary concept for me. The free health care also means that the pill and condoms are all free for all, so most people use both and there are less pregnancies which would have to be aborted therefore. You also receive money from the state for every child you get and social security is very good so people don't have to fear that a child might ruin their lives or force them into poverty.
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Re: Stem-cell research?

Postby Democritus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 5:27 pm

EmptyMan wrote:I think it's a little unfair to say that Christians believe their ideas on abortion is wisdom from God. Yes, this is what I would call dogma but fortunately it is scientifically justifiable to say the single-celled embryos are human and as I have said earlier it's argumental suicide to say that life does not begin at conception. A life begins at conceptiopn, no doubt, but what you do with that life depends on how much you value it.


Unfortunately, I think you and I do not agree about this. :(

If I thought that "life begins at conception," meaning that a single-celled embryo is a fully-fledged human being, then there is no way that I could condone any form of abortion or fetal research.

There are plenty of arguments in favor of the idea that a single-celled embryo is not a human being. But I won't elaborate on them here, because I think this is the wrong forum, and I suspect that at the end of the day we won't change each other's minds, because we both have probably already heard each other's arguments before.
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Postby Turpissimus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 6:07 pm

Turpissimus, you're absolutely right. In Germany the laws on abortion are thougher than in the US, just as regulations on stem-cells are more restrictive in both German and the UK and it's probably because the debates here are more rational as you don't have the 'radical' interests groups that you find in the US. Abortions are allowed in Germany for example, but just as with this ethics commission to check every case on embryonic stem-cell imports, you need to have an ethic-panel to decide on every single abortion (loads of forms, you need doctors and ethics advisors to consent and all that sort of thing, you need to go on a family planning course and all that (free of course, as is all health care) and it's only allowed up until a certain date in the pregnancy very early on, after that all abortions are illegal. There are no abortion clinic or anything like that in Germany either.


Abortion in the UK
Abortion in the US

In the UK you need the consent of two doctors and only on the following grounds -

* To save the mother's life.
* To prevent grave permanent injury to the mother's physical or mental health
* Under 24 weeks to avoid injury to the physical or mental health of the mother
* Under 24 weeks to avoid injury to the physical or mental health of the existing child(ren)
* If the child was likely to be severely physically or mentally handicapped

The interesting thing is that many Americans are of the impression that since Europe is a good deal more liberal on many social issues then it must also have less restrictive abortion laws. While it is true that abortion is paid for by the governments system of socialized medecine, the terms are a good deal more restrictive. I understand that the US allows abortion on demand in the first trimester, for any reason.

The figures seem to show that the UK has, proportionally, fewer abortions than the US. The US has 4.8 times the population (293 vs 60 million), but 7.6 times the number of abortions (1 400 000 versus 185 000). I imagine factors like less use of contraception among the young also play a part in this.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 6:25 pm

The policy of the US seems to be that as Kopio put it in the debate/thread on madatory voting: "it's one of those "this country is built on freedom" kind of things that would stick in a lot of people's craws."

Freedom to have an abortion, freedom to do whatever you want with embryos... that's what the US has, it just doesn't have the government paying for abortions and for stem-cell research (at least the federal government doesn't pay a lot, seems California might).

Why do you think this is? I mean I understand that Americans probably hold this idea very close to their heart, but it also seems to me that many Americans think abortion and stem-cell research should, if not be banned, at least be more restricted similar to other countries' laws on these issues, which are much tougher.
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Postby EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 6:56 pm

"Freedom" is deeply imbedded in Americns. Most girls I talk to beleive it's there absolute freedom to do whatever they want with fetus'. Most American people would support some bans on Abortion but the liberal trial lawyers, the ACLU, and others like Hilary Clinton won't let it happen.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:02 pm

Bans? Well, I'm not talking about banning abortions, just restricting them. Maybe you need a 'restrict abortions' lobby, as it's quite clear with all those 'liberals' around that you won't ever get a ban. I don't agree with those liberals, but i don't agree in a total ban either. I think that the UK's policy is a good one. Germany's is ok, but I don't like the fact that Muslim women or atheist need a document to be signed by some Christian church guy to get the abortion, as it sort of implies that only Christians can act morally - a neutral institution could give their ethical verdict just as well (but that's just an irrelevant detail really, the system is ok :wink: ).
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Postby Turpissimus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:06 pm

Most American people would support some bans on Abortion but the liberal trial lawyers, the ACLU, and others like Hilary Clinton won't let it happen.


I imagine it probably has more to do with the courts than the ACLU and their lawyers. I can't see that Hilary Clinton would have any influence whatsoever.

I have been told that there is a slight conservative majority on the SCOTUS, and of course the Republicans have controlled the presidency, the House and the Senate for some time, so I imagine that any lack of legislation on this matter is the fault of Republicans rather than trial lawyers.
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