ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a terrible disease and I pray that a cure will be found soon. I can’t in good faith, however, participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The ALS Association uses embryonic stem cells in its research to develop a cure. In order to obtain embryonic stem cells a living human embryo must be destroyed or the cells must be harvested from an aborted baby. After years of embryonic stem cell research a total of zero cures or effective medical uses have been developed. The moral juxtaposition of using embryonic stem cells is that a living human being must be killed in order to conduct research that may or may not save a life or lives in the future. The only stem cell research that has lead to positive results has been performed with adult stem cells. There is no ethical dilemma in using adult stem cells since they can be harvested without killing or harming the donor in any way.
Working towards a cure for a deadly disease like ALS is a noble pursuit. Sacrificing tiny humans in the hope of finding a breakthrough is not the way to do it. Every life is equally as valuable as any other. I’m no more important than a human embryo and sadly, neither is someone afflicted with ALS. Since embryonic stem cell research has been a dismal failure, maybe a better use for the ALS Association’s money and resources would be a different course of action.
I don’t claim to have all the answers nor do I claim to be the moral authority on who should do what for whatever reason. I do know what I feel in my heart and what I see as ethical and moral, and anyone wishing to disagree with me is free to do so. My friends and family taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge are doing it for the right reasons. They’re raising money and raising awareness, and hopefully their efforts will lead to a cure. My hope is that the ALS Association will use this financial windfall and PR bonanza as an impetus to move away from the use of embryonic stem cells and pursue other avenues towards a cure.
Taking innocent lives to potentially save innocent lives is not the way to go. I have no doubt that the ALS Association’s intentions are pure. My problem is with their means and methods. When they abandon the use of embryonic stem cells I’ll be four-square behind them. I’ll happily take my turn with the ice bucket and write them a check. Until then; no thanks.