[This was message #2535 in the Episcopal Colorado Diocese forum, submitted February 10, 2000.]
With respect to Tom Beckwith's point about my Sudan posting (I'm still waiting for an e-mail reply from Faith McDonnell on that issue, Tom and Paul), I'll get right to the point. The NIH is trying to get around a congressional ban on federal stem cell research. Here's what to do:
Research the issue so you can write a letter in your own words.
Send your comments on or before February 22, 2000 to: Stem Cell Guidelines, NIH Office of Science Policy, 1 Center Drive, Building 1, Room 218, Bethesda, MD 20892. Comments may also be sent by facsimile transmission to Stem Cell Guidelines at (301) 402-0280, or by e-mail to: email@example.com.
Where to Start to Learn More About the Issue
The National Council on Catholic Bishops makes the case very well at http://www.nccbuscc.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/talkingpoints.htm:
The National Institutes of Health has issued draft guidelines under which, for the first time in history, our federal government will officially approve and regulate the destruction of innocent human life for research purposes. The guidelines instruct researchers in how to harvest versatile "stem cells" from living week-old human embryos, a procedure which kills the embryos. They also establish standards for harvesting similar cells from dead unborn children following induced abortions --a practice that has its own increasingly visible moral problems (see recent news reports on trafficking in fetal body parts), but is in accord with a federal law enacted in 1993. The new moral and legal frontier broached by these guidelines is the destruction of live embryos specifically for federally sponsored research --on the pretext that no one will care anyway, because these are "spare" embryos from fertility clinics that are "in excess of clinical need." Only a large volume of critical comments by taxpayers will convince federal lawmakers that people do care about this moral atrocity.
According to http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jan2000/od-31.htm:
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