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No excuses now on embryonic cells

June 11, 2007

Re "Skin cell is made to mimic stem cell," June 7

Now that we may have an unquestionably ethical alternative to cell reprogramming, is there any justification for continuing to support embryonic stem cell research?

I can think of only two reasons why an individual or organization might continue to do so: unfamiliarity with or indifference to the ethical issues involved or the passion to see the routine destruction of the unborn person at every stage of development inextricably interwoven into the fabric of our society and culture. The first is tragic; the second, reprehensible.

ROBERT RAKAUSKAS

Los Angeles

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Some hail the development of a new method to derive stem cells as an ethical triumph because it averts the killing of embryos. However, as embryo research opponents have long observed, conventional in vitro fertilization intrinsically entails the destruction of excess embryos. Hence, a new stem cell source solves nothing. The commodification, selection and destruction of life in the IVF marts will continue unabated -- using public health insurance dollars -- until the public sees IVF as the covert, creeping techno-eugenic nightmare it has become.

MARK OSHINSKIE

Highland Park, N.J.

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