ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Supporting Abortion or Saving a Life?

Presidential Participation in the Challenge

On Wednesday, a video which was posted by George W. Bush showed the former president being doused with ice water by his wife, Laura. According to a report from The Christian Science Monitor, Bush is seen in the video dressed in a blue shirt. He states to the camera, “To all you who have challenged me I do not think it is presidential to be splashed with ice water so I’m simply going to write you a check.” However, wife Laura is soon seen sneaking up behind her husband to dump cold water on his head. The site mentions that President Obama has also been challenged, and has thus far refrained from accepting.

Another report, this one from the Liberty Voice states that Obama “chickened out,” on the challenge, but will instead donate money to the cause. The article goes on to explain, however, that a telegram went out to all officials, including US Ambassadors, etc, that they are not allowed to take part in the challenge. Even those who are not that fond of the current president would have to admit, the money he donated will do much more good for ALS sufferers than any amount of ice poured over his head.

ice bucket challenge

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. explains it like this, “(ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”

What’s Ice Got To Do With It?

Many have wondered what having ice water poured over their head could possibly have to do with fighting a debilitating disease. Videos of everyone from celebrities to small home town citizens have gone viral on social media. While many are posting their own ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos, others are calling the phenomenon a “stupid fad” which has nothing to do with helping ALS victims. Some praise Obama for refusing to take the challenge, others think Bush was unprofessional to do so. Celebrities are being ridiculed by part of their fanbase for pouring ice on their heads, while also being celebrated by others for taking the challenge. But which is it really, stupid fad or worthy cause? Well, let’s see…

Good, Bad, and Profitable

On a positive note, the ice bucket challenge has raised over $50 million since its start in August. Over ten million of that was raised in one day, Thursday. This amount of money could go a long way into formulating treatments and possible finding a cure for this devastating disease.

Those who are in favor of the challenge explain that the vision of celebrities, and even people that we know, having ice poured over their head is drawing attention, and thus raising awareness. It has also been stated that when the ice cold water hits the nerves of your neck and head, that you, for just a moment, have an idea of the sensations that someone with ALS has. They feel that it is no different than wearing pink for breast cancer awareness, etc. In that concept, the ice bucket challenge is not stupid.

Those who are opposed to the challenge have their own, equally understandable arguments. Some point out that pouring ice over someone’s head could be dangerous. In Kentucky, one firefighter was critical and three others injured after arcs from power lines hit them. They were in the fire truck’s bucket, pouring ice water on an entire college class.

Another report circulated that a teen had did instantly from a neck injury due to the challenge. This internet rumor started when a satirical site posted the story and other news sites ran with it. It was later stated to be a hoax, although Snopes admits that there have been deaths related to ice being poured over someone’s head. Snopes also says that the ice bucket challenge began as a drinking game referred to as “neknominate.”

Life for a Life?

Aside from the argument that this challenge can be dangerous, many have religious reasons for refusing to take the challenge or support ALS research. According to TIME magazine, Father Michael Duffy wrote a blog post informing his readers that donations made to the ALS Association can be used for embryonic stem cell research. This is a huge problem for those who are opposed to abortion. As Matt Rooney questions, “How can I donate money, or ask YOU out there in Save Jersey Land to donate your hard-earned money during these tough economic times when plenty of cash-starved worthy charities are vying for our limited resources, when this particular organization thinks infanticide is a legitimate way to save other human beings?”

While ALS spokesperson Carrie Monk suggests that you can request that your money not go to stem cell research, Father Duffy feels that is not enough, and adds, “I would still have trouble with that because you’re supporting an organization that is taking someone’s life.” See, embryonic stem cell research uses the stem cells of aborted babies to research ways to help other, live humans. Many who have taken part in this challenge are not aware of this. Others are, and totally agree with it. So which is it? Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a worthy cause, or are we trading life for life? You decide. Answers and arguments welcome in the comments below.