An informative interview by Christianity Today with the new director of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (CBHD), Paige Cunningham. The CBHD website has a great collection of resources on bioethical issues from an evangelical perspective.
Here’s an excerpt:
What new bioethical challenges are you considering?
We’ve been talking with people from India and Africa about issues like the black market in organ transplantation. Crossing animals and humans has been approved in the U.K. There is a shortage of human eggs, so they want to use animal eggs. The reality is that these bioethical issues are not just an American or a Western concern; they are significant frontline issues around the world.
We recently saw news that New York will begin paying women to donate eggs for research.
People who are outside evangelicalism share real concerns about the impact on women’s health and the potential exploitation of women. It’s an irony that a young, white, smart, beautiful Ivy League college student can get up to $50,000 to donate her eggs, but in New York State, the limit is $5,000. They’re not really interested in the eggs for their genetic qualities. They just want eggs to create embryos. The issue shows real potential for exploitation of women who are trying to pay off a credit card bill or a mortgage. She’ll get one-tenth of what the Ivy League woman gets, and she may risk serious impact on her health.
What are other bioethical issues Christians need to be better educated about?
Adult stem cell research, which is using stem cells from anything other than embryos, is very successful. There are people walking around today who are alive because they had an adult stem cell treatment, using their own stem cells. There are also other alternatives to produce embryonic stem cell lines that don’t involve the destruction of an embryo: Altered Nuclear Transfer, which is still in active research, and IPS, Induced Pluripotent Stem cells. If Christians were going to pick one to be well informed on, stem cell research is probably the one I would encourage them to spend a little time with. (continue)