Associate Professor Emeritus Frank McLaughlin is continuing his defense of human life notwithstanding his retirement after 52 years of faithful service on the Boston College faculty. On 2/21/15, he wrote a compelling response on The Boston Globe website succinctly presenting the scientific and philosophical argument against the use of embryonic stem cells for medical treatment. The original author, a person with a severe spinal cord injury, had accused opponents of the use of embryonic stem cells of being ignorant religious zealots. Here is Professor McLaughlin’s response:

“The argument against using human embryos as raw material to be destroyed in the process of obtaining material to be used in research and production is not an argument from religious zealotry that breaches the so called wall of separation between church and state. It is an argument based on the scientific and philosophically established fact that the fertilized ovum is a human being. What else can it be? It is living and human and like all of us as embryos contains the characteristics of the mature adult it will be if it’s life is not cut short by using it to harvest stem cells. The moral question is should human beings in the embryonic stage be treated this way, e.g., as raw material in a production process? Your answer appears to be yes based on a utilitarian ethical analysis that such production might be of benefit to you and others in unfortunate circumstances such as yours. But, why should your ethical theory be privileged over an alternate ethical theory which places a greater value on embryonic human life?”