*UPDATE: Timothy P. Collins asks, “Why does President Obama object to human cloning?” You know, that’s a really, REALLY good question, Dr. Collins.
Plus, they’re making it up as they go along again in the UK, led once again by green advisor Jonathan Porritt. Speaking at the Optimum Population Trust’s annual conference, he warned that Britain must cut its population size in half in order to build a “sustainable society.” Just how does one do that, Mr. Porritt? Remember that this secular progressive society is exactly what people like our Dear Leader have in mind for our own country. Make no mistake, we’re following in the UK’s footsteps. (Optimum Population Trust?) Rick Moran writes:
This is beyond insidious. In order to achieve a 50% reduction in population, Great Britain would have to mandate family size and even take control of family planning completely, making the decisions regarding which parents will be able to have children and which won’t.
Something that has been on my brain the most as of late has been the re-opening of federal funding for ESCR. (One of many anti-life Obama actions.) I and many others have been busy emailing our university regents, asking that they not receive funding for such an unethical practice. And we’ve gotten varying responses. Our particular regent, a Mr. Kent Schroeder, seems unable to formulate a logical, thought-out response, and so resorts to snotty one-liners or questions. Mr. Schroeder might take heed and recall that he is, after all, someone elected to his position, and it is his responsibility to be open enough to listen to the input of those who put him there. He might never listen or change his opinion, but I think that someone in his position should at least have the grace to respond in a non-adolescent way.
The ESCR argument is, at heart, the abortion argument. I think that people who are pro-abortion realize that if we collectively deem research on human embryos as wrong, then abortion can never be right, either. Back to one of the responses, this one from Regent Hassebrook: Although he at least tried to be civil, his thought process was lacking logic. At one point, he pointed to the fact that IVF clinics are essentially doing the same thing, and they’re not getting in trouble, so why villify ESCR? Now, that might be considered a “zinger” for some people, mainly Protestants or others who might not object to IVF, but for Catholics, it proves nothing. The Catholic Church has remained firm (the only church to do so) in its objections to IVF, contraception, and abortion. All Protestant churches were against these three things in the early to mid 20th century. Only the Catholic Church has stood firm until today. So, for us, Mr. Hassebrook has made the mistake of trying to justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior, and he scored no points.
I realize that some of you might cringe to read this, but know that I’m saying it in total love: The pro-life Protestant who calls himself “pro-life” but sees no problem with contraception or IVF has simply not thought it through. (This is 1000+ blog posts in itself.)
Anyway, I thought that Fr. Andrews’ response to Mr. Hassebrook did a really good job going beyond the arguments that only skim the surface of the issue, and addresses the more basic, foundational problem with ESCR (and by extension, abortion, etc…) With permission granted, here is his response:
I appreciate your response. Yes, I understand that there are different positions on this issue. There are different positions on almost every issue. However, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to find and then agree on the truth of an issue. Conscience must be informed by truth or else we are prone fall into moral relativism.
The common defense of embryonic stem cell research is that these embryos are going to thrown away anyway. Think about that a minute. What right does any person have to decide another person’s fate or to use them for medical procedures? We certainly don’t believe in carrying out medical research on death row inmates. They too are going to die anyway. We’d be rightly outraged and put a stop to it if that were ever proposed.
Human life should never be manipulated in these ways because we always run the risk of explaining away a death here or there for the “greater good”. That’s proportionalism – certain wrongs do make a right.
You and I were both embryos at one point. All human beings are. It’s a stage of life. I’m saddened by the thousands of embryos in cold storage. They never should have been created and put there in the first place. But now that they are, so what to do? Since they are persons they deserve either adoption by families or a proper burial. We don’t have the right to use them for research because people are not property. We settled that one in 1864.
There is another fundamental principle that has guided physicians throughout the ages – Do no harm. Even if someone says that they don’t know when human life begins – that that knowledge is “above their paygrade” – we err on the side of caution. If I’m not sure an embryo is a human being I don’t “shoot first”, so to speak, and then ask questions later. If I’m wrong and act anyway I can never correct my action.
As sure as I’m sitting here typing this, you and I both know that the embryos in storage are not going to be enough. No, a need will arise to create embryos for some new form of research that shows “great promise”. At that point though it won’t matter because we will have already decided that it’s okay to manipulate human life for whatever purpose we need. Don’t you see? Without a principle to guide us anything is justifiable.
There are so many things that we are capable of doing but that doesn’t not mean we should do all of them. I am a Roman Catholic priest but my arguments are not based on theology but on logic, biology and respect for the human person.
The one bit of theology I will leave you with is this – life is not about advancing from cradle to grave without getting a disease. We’re all going to die and there will always be things we can’t cure. In the end the greatness of our life will not be measured by how much pain we avoided but how much we loved even when it hurt.
Thanks for listening.
Fr. Dan Andrews
Now, isn’t it true that every social/moral dilemma that we face in the world today boils down to one thing: Truth. Many in our time have fallen under the impression that there is no objective truth, no right or wrong, no principle or standard by which to measure anything. This is called relativism, and moral relativism is now running rampant. People must realize that if there is no standard, no such thing as “truth”, then anything is permissible. And we all would like to say, “Well, X could never happen because we as a society are evolved enough to never let it happen,” but we would be wrong. We are “evolved” enough to elect a man to office who voted four times to deny basic medical care to infants born alive after failed abortions. We are now “evolved” enough to allow abortionists to dismember babies in the womb. There are countless examples of our collective “superiority.” We will continue to rationalize horrific practices as long as we collectively accept that there is not objective truth.
Another thing that strikes me about this discussion is the dilemma that couples undergoing IVF go through when trying to determine what to do with their leftover embryos. I can’t remember where I read this, but for a good many of these couples, the thought of giving them to research or destroying them is abhorrent. The greater question is, “Why?” And the answer should give all of us pause.
One final thought. (I’m sorry, I’ll never succeed in writing a short post.) It is easy to deny the humanity of an embryo for many people. After all, it doesn’t look like a person, it’s miniscule, etc… But I’ve always looked at it in this way: Each of us is unique. No two people were ever alike. It happens at the moment of conception. The DNA and traits that make one human different from every other human in the world and across time is there the moment the sperm and egg unite. So, for the couple who, say, determine to have an abortion due to an unexpected pregnancy, and then go on to have a baby when the time is right, it’s not simply having the carbon copy of the baby they aborted. That unique individual person can never be brought back. It’s a different way of looking at it, but it has always been a powerful thought to me. So, it is no wonder why couples have a difficult time in determining what to do with their extra (unique) embryos. It is to answer the question, what do we do with the rest of the unique beings we have created?