The issue at stake here for those in the poorest regions of the world is one of health justice. About 90 percent of the world health budget is being spent on 10 percent of the world population. The issue, put starkly, is this: why are so few resources poured into curing the most basic, preventable diseases, when so many resources are dedicated to stem cell research? This applies to all forms of stem cell research, from adult stem cell research through to embryonic stem cell research. This problem is compounded by fears that unregulated stem cell treatment will proliferate in nations that do not have the legal and regulatory infrastructure to cope. The need for ova in embryonic stem cell research has given rise to a new form of exploitation of women.
As expected the issue is not one of protecting the unborn made in the image of God, but of health justice (a nerve jangling phrase), the principle that the equal distribution of the benefits derived from experimenting on the unborn is more important than their destruction.
Dr Fabian Salazar Guerrero from Latin America challenged his listeners: “The problems discussed in this consultation have world dimensions. But those in the poorest regions of the world are excluded from discussions. This exclusion kills in a long agony”.
This was the most perversely misguided paragraph: surely being excluded from the discussions of a coterie of bombastic self-righteous scientists, ethicists and theologians would be cause for rejoicing; to be present would have been a long agony.