Early Human Development & Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Many names apply to various developmental stages of the same living human: fertilized egg or zygote (a single cell), a blastocyst (many cells), embryo, fetus, infant, child, adolescent, etc. However, it is important to realize that human life begins at the union of sperm and ovum.6
During the first week of life, this tiny new person floats freely down his or her mother’s fallopian tube, dividing and sub-dividing as the journey is made. At about one week of life, he or she plants within the nutrient lining of the mother’s uterus. In about three more days, having implanted into the wall of the uterus, this new human sends a chemical hormonal message into the mother’s blood stream, and this stops her menstrual period. Four days later, the embryonic heart begins to beat, and three weeks after that, brain waves are measurable.6
The biologic fact is that from day one, inside and then outside of the uterus, there is one continuous, uninterrupted period of growth and development. It is impossible to draw a line in time and to say that before this time, this was not a living human, and after this, it is. This is, in fact, a living human at the first cell stage and remains so until the person’s death. Accordingly, ending the life of this living human embryo at day four or five, at week four or five or at year four or five is the same: killing a living human being.6
At the first cell stage, you were everything you are today. You were already male or female. You were alive, not dead. You were certainly human as you had 46 human chromosomes (you were not a tree or a chicken); and most importantly, you were complete. Nothing was ever added to the single cell you once were, from then until today—nothing except food, fluids, and oxygen. You were complete then, and to terminate your life at any stage can be called nothing other than killing.6
The form each person takes during the first day of human life is properly termed a “fertilized egg.” However, this single-celled person divides, divides, and divides again, so that nearing the end of the first week this embryonic human, now called a “blastocyst,” numbers several hundred cells. To obtain an embryonic stem cell, researchers must cut open the embryo, thereby killing him or her, to extract his or her stem cells.6
Adult stem cells (those taken from non-embryonic sources) have benefited patients with more than 73 different diseases. There are NO cures or treatments using embryonic stem cells. According to current scientific literature, adult stem cells have treated at least 26 different kinds of cancers, 15 different autoimmune diseases, 3 different neural degenerative diseases/injuries, 10 different anemias/blood conditions, and others. Embryonic stem cells have yet to cure a single human patient.7
While embryonic stem cells cannot heal, they can kill. Even at the current stage of research, embryonic stem cells can be deadly to recipients. In animal testing, embryonic stem cells cause a significant number of recipients to develop cancers. Using more developed fetal stem cells, a 52-year-old man died when the cells implanted in his brain became hair, cartilage and connective tissue. In another case, a group of patients with neural degenerative diseases with violent, uncontrollable shaking received fetal cell transplants into their brains. Rather than improving, 15-25% developed severe dyskinesia (worse shaking than they had before). This failure of more specialized fetal cells is an indicator of how much more difficult it likely will be to get less specialized embryonic stem cells to work.7
Hawai‘i does not ban human cloning or destructive embryo research, nor does it maintain any meaningful regulation of assisted reproductive technologies.5
The state does, however, regulate insurance coverage of assisted reproductive technologies.5
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