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Anne Downey

Anne Downey practices law with her husband in New York. Anne is a member of the Christian Legal Society, an Alliance Defense Fund "ally," and is volunteering her writing talent to Chrisitian Women for America's Legal Studies Department.

The Dark Side of the Force: Embryonic Stem-Cell Research
Unlike research efforts involving adult stems, it requires the destruction of human life.
[Anne Downey] 6/2/05

Occasionally Hollywood, despite its many flaws, hits a nerve, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This past weekend, when my family and I attended the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, the story’s relevance to current events in America struck me.

Without revealing too much of the plot, let me say that the movie depicts the transformation of Anikin Skywalker, a young Jedi knight, into the evil Darth Vader. We learn that Anikin turns to the Dark Side of the Force because of a desperate desire to save the life of a loved one, no matter the cost. But of course, once Anikin embraces the Dark Side, the price is death and destruction for many.

It struck me that this tragic tale is analogous to our nation’s growing embrace of embryonic stem-cell research. Embryonic stem-cell research, unlike research efforts involving adult stems, requires the destruction of human life. When scientists extract stem cells from a five-day-old human embryo, the embryo dies.

Advocates of embryonic stem-cell research seek to persuade us that such research must be explored in order to treat horrible illnesses and conditions and to save lives. Like Anikin, we feel the tugging on our heartstrings. We consider the very difficult lives led by ill or disabled individuals who long for a cure. We want the Christopher Reeves of the world to walk. We want the Lou Gehrigs of the world to be set free from their slow and painful deaths. We listen to the promises and claims, and the siren song begins to sound almost sweet to our ears.

But as surely as Anikin’s pact with evil resulted in death and destruction, so our nation’s slide down the path of embryonic stem-cell research will bring about dire results. The death toll will mount, the promised cures may not be realized, and unknown consequences may be launched.

Like an ancient society, we stand at the edge of the cliff, ready to hurl our young sacrificial victims over the edge, all for the “good of society.” The drums are beating and the chant is reverberating in a rising crescendo.

But a nation that sacrifices its young should not regard itself as a great nation. Mother Teresa once said: “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” While she made that comment in the context of abortion, it applies equally to the destruction of the young through embryonic stem-cell research.

Mother Teresa also said: “If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for.”

We would do well to listen to Mother Teresa’s words of wisdom. We must stand steadfastly for the sanctity of life and turn our backs on the siren song of the Dark Side. tOR

copyright 2005 Concerned Women for America




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