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STEMCEL2 7'?m3f Stem cell research, euthanasia, ethics

(scene: judge's bench or podium)

JUDGE -- (enters wearing black robe, crosses to bench, pounds
gavel) This court will again come to order. Our next case is
(reads) Mercy Hospital versus the estate of Joe Flannery. Are
both parties ready to proceed?

AMY -- (enters carrying file folders) Counsel for Mercy Hospital
present and ready to proceed, Your Honor.

LIZ -- (enters opposite carrying file folders) This is an
outrage, Your Honor!

JUDGE -- Your outrage is duly noted. But your answer to my
question is not. Would you like to answer my question?

LIZ -- Mary Beth Flannery representing my father Joe Flannery...

JUDGE -- Thank you.

LIZ -- This is a gross miscarriage of justice!

JUDGE -- This hearing will proceed to completion much more
quickly if counsels keep their personal opinions to a bare
minimum.

LIZ -- I'm sorry, Your Honor. But this hearing shouldn't even be
taking place! This is a smoke screen to keep me from pursuing
another matter.

JUDGE -- (picks up paper, reads) Oh. I see you are also on the
docket for the next hearing.

LIZ -- Yes. THIS hearing is designed to divide and dilute my
efforts so that opposing counsel can do an end run around the
law during the next hearing!

JUDGE -- Is that true, counselor?

AMY -- Not at all, Your Honor. The fact is that the same legal
and moral principles apply to both cases, as you will see as the
evidence is disclosed.

LIZ -- A likely story.

JUDGE -- (pounds gavel) Shall I ask for a replacement counsel?

LIZ -- No. I'm sorry, Your Honor. I'll... I'll behave. I'm
sorry.

JUDGE -- Counsel for the hospital may proceed.

AMY -- Thank you, Your Honor. This case revolves around organ
and tissue transplants, which the donor, Joe Flannery has
authorized in writing.

JUDGE -- (flips pages) So I see.

LIZ -- What you don't see is that the Hospital wants to remove
the organs and tissues from my father, from Mr Flannery, WHILE
HE IS STILL ALIVE!

JUDGE -- Is that true?

AMY -- Yes, Your Honor. Mr Flannery is in a coma. The Doctors
have made it very clear that he will die anyway.

LIZ -- So, they want to kill him by taking his organs.

JUDGE -- How can the hospital justify this?

AMY -- The hospital estimates that because of Mr Flannery's
blood and tissue types, his organs and tissues can be used to
save the lives of at least a dozen people. And as you may know,
the fresher the tissues the more valuable they are for saving
lives.

JUDGE -- Your arguments, counselor?

LIZ -- It is morally and legally repugnant to kill one human
being to save another. I will refer the court to the gruesome
research done on the Jews during World War Two. Even though SOME
good accrued to humanity from this research, noone but the Nazis
thought the end justified the means.

JUDGE -- She's got a point, there, counselor. I'm inclined to
rule on behalf of the.... (raises gavel)

AMY -- Before you rule on this matter, Your Honor, I urge you to
hear the arguments for the next case on your docket. The
arguments and the rulings should probably be consistent.

LIZ -- What did I tell you?! It was a smoke screen!

JUDGE -- (lifts and reads file folder, looks underneath) Mercy
Hospital seeks an injunction against the Flannery Foundation?

AMY -- Yes, Your Honor.

LIZ -- I don't see what possible connection there can be between
killing a comatose man and the stem cell research of my father's
foundation.

JUDGE -- Can you establish a connection counselor?

AMY -- Yes, Your Honor. In both cases, an innocent human being
who can't defend himself loses his life.

LIZ -- Stem cell research doesn't kill a human life! It's a
zygote or a blastula, for goodness sakes!

AMY -- A zygote and a blastula are normal stages in normal human
development. If it's not a HUMAN life, what species of life is
it?

COM -- It doesn't even LOOK human!

AMY -- On the contrary, a human being at that stage of
development looks exactly like ALL human beings look at that
stage of development. If the life wasn't snuffed out by removal
of organs and tissues, these human beings would continue to grow
and develop into normal adult humans.

LIZ -- But these so-called HUMANS were produced in a petri dish!

AMY -- If LOCATION is what determines the value of human life,
perhaps we should make Joe Flannery's death more palatable by
moving him to a glass dish.

LIZ -- You can't do that! He's a human being, for goodness sake!

AMY -- I would say the same for the human beings in the petri
dishes that the Flannery foundation is trying to kill.

JUDGE -- I think she's got you, Counselor. Location doesn't
change one's humanity. I need to know: Are the human zygotes
produced in a glass dish just as human as those produced in a
woman's body?

LIZ -- Well, yes, but they're going to die anyway.

AMY -- Fertility clinics routinely fertilize eggs in a petri
dish and they grow into normal human adults. Are you saying that
if you DON'T kill them by removing their stem cells, your
specimens have no chance of growing normally?

JUDGE -- Good question, counselor. Would the zygotes and
blastulae in your petri dishes survive if they were implanted in
a woman?

LIZ -- Well, I suppose they would have the same chance at
survival as any other zygote or blastula. But we fertilized
those eggs in a petri dish precisely for the purpose of....
of...

AMY -- Killing them? Isn't that a little like putting a plastic
bag over Mr Flannery's head and then declaring 'he's going to
die anyway'?

LIZ -- Don't you even TRY taking those organs and tissues until
after my father is dead!

AMY -- The Hospital was never serious about doing that to Mr
Flannery.

LIZ -- You weren't?

AMY -- No. We merely wanted to establish a logical linkage
between the two circumstances. Your Honor, if it's not legal or
moral to kill a comatose patient by removing his organs and
tissues, it's not legal or moral to do the same to a tiny human
being in its early stages of development. Neither of these human
beings can say NO. So, it's up to the court to say NO on their
behalf.

JUDGE -- Your arguments are very compelling, counselor. Because
the prognosis for these tiny human beings is not medically
terminal, the argument that they would die anyway has no merit.
Likewise, I see no merit to the argument against these tiny
human beings based on their size, their location, their
dependency or their level of development. As such, I have no
choice but to say NO on behalf of human beings who can't speak
for themselves. The injunction to prohibit stem cell research
using the cells of developing human beings is granted. This
court stands adjourned. (pounds gavel, exits)

LIZ -- (exits with Amy) Boy, you really had me going there.

AMY -- I'm glad.

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