|A Publication of the Republican National Coalition for Life||July/August 1999 - No. 29|
|TECHNOLOGICAL TIME BOMB|
So it might not get the media coverage it deserves.
But it could be the most important debate of our generation. It will determine whether we're going to make it easy on ourselves to make a bargain with science and the future.
Depending on how it comes out and what we settle for, it will determine what kind of human beings we will become, as science moves quicker than our ability to understand its consequences, in areas from human cloning to fetal stem cell research.
And it will answer a question:
Is it right to take human beings and process them as resources to benefit other human beings?
About 100 doctors and scientists have signed a statement from the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity to oppose something horrible embryonic and fetal stem cell research, which uses aborted children and viable fertilized embryos to develop cures for some diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
At the news conference, the doctors are being joined by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, the Republican from Kansas, who is expected to lead a fight against changes in federal policy that now allows the research.
The National Institutes of Health already supports and finances the research using fetuses. Now, the NIH wants to use embryos too.
Among those opposing the research is former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.
Some scientists argue that they need the human "material," as they call it, to study how the mind works, in order to attack the horrible diseases. But the doctors who have signed the document say that's wrong. Stem cell research on brain diseases is in its early stages, and there are other means to grow the cells to attack brain diseases.
Sen. Brownback said it is important to realize that the ethical line of using human life for stem cell research need not be crossed.
"For those who say there are moral and ethical issues on the other side, who say we have the moral responsibility to solve diseases like Parkinson's, I say, look at the other possibilities that we have," Brownback said Wednesday in an interview.
"We don't have to give up on solving Parkinson's. We have other ways of doing it. And that seems to be a prudent way to proceed," he said. "It's almost every week that another study comes out about advances in adult stem cell research. Let's not get into the situation where you go into all these legal and ethical issues--you'd have enormous ethical and moral issues here, and you shouldn't jump into it."
The debate over the use of fetal brain tissue in experiments was touched on in this space Monday. And I could hear the angry howling.
I'm not opposing science, or research, or organ donation, or any other reasonable practice. Organ donors offer their consent to have their bodies used by science.
But aborted children don't have that opportunity. They're not asked to give their consent. And they are used in stem cell research to help adults fight brain diseases.
Fifty years ago, the Nuremberg war crimes trials led the world to promise never to use human life in scientific experiments without consent. But now we're changing our minds, in order to win a scientific benefit.
And we cannot make a political deal on this issue without publicly and fully discussing the consequences of such selfish thinking.
Some people argue that to oppose this research is to condemn people with Parkinson's to death.
U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) thinks so. Though we disagree on this issue, he should be heard too.
"I think this is valuable research," Durbin said. "We have to set up safeguards that will keep it from becoming commercialized. The important thing about these (fetal) neural cells is that they may be able to help in cases that we can do nothing about now, conditions like that which keep Christopher Reeve in a wheelchair."
But there are other ways to obtain stem cells, according to the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. And even if there weren't other ways, using human babies and embryos should not be allowed.
Stem cells can be obtained from the living human nerve tissue of consenting adults and from adult cadavers, according to researchers. Like the fetal stem cell research, all of this is experimental.
Here's one reason why the fetuses and embryos are used. It's easier. They're available. And that's the problem.
Because it is easy, and because there is promise in the research, we might be willing-- through small steps we don't even notice at the time--to barter something away.
© Copyrighted Chicago Tribune Co. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
³Long before I became attorney general, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled that a viable fetus is a person and entitled to protection against homicide. Only someone on the outer fringe would march into South Carolina and condemn our well-established laws protecting children from homicide and a motherıs cocaine abuse.
"To say that I am trying to ensure special rights,ı for fetuses is an insult to life itself. Our courts have held repeatedly that viable unborn children are entitled to the same right to life as every other citizen. Far from being a special rightı the right to life is a right given by God and guaranteed by the state of South Carolina.²
Charlie Condon is a true hero of the pro-life movement. He has never wavered from the principles pronounced by the founders of our country that our fundamental rights to life and liberty come from God, our Creator, and governments are instituted in order to guarantee legal protection of that right.
Notes of thanks can be sent to: Attorney General Charlie Condon - Office of the Attorney General - P.O. Box 11549 - Columbia, SC 29211.
Ohio - Upon sentencing 20-year-old April Parson, convicted of smothering one of her two-month-old sons, Judge Robert Ruehlman said, "It's our country's fault. We have sanctioned the wholesale slaughter of unborn children . . . . we sanction it, and we wonder why they do it after they're born. We reap what we sow in this country.² He sentenced Ms. Parson to 10 years for involuntary manslaughter and eight years for child endangering. (communiqué, 6/11/99)
Michigan - A bi-partisan group of state senators has introduced legislation protecting the conscience rights of Michigan citizens who want abortion-free health care coverage. The three-bill package, SB 645-647, by Senators Beverly Hammerstrom, Dave Jaye and Phil Hoffman, would eliminate elective abortions as a standard covered benefit in health care plans and would require those wanting such coverage to request and pay for abortion coverage in a separate policy rider. Abortion is a standard benefit in most health care plans. Senator Hoffman, sponsor of SB 647, suggested the onus should be on abortion proponents to request such coverage. ³This whole situation is backwards. If abortion is supposed to be a matter of choice,ı then shouldnıt people who want abortion covered have to choose it? Right now, those who donıt want it are forced to pay for it. These bills donıt deny anyone the ability to get abortion coverage. They simply have to ask for it in a separate rider, and be willing to pay a separate premium, too.² (Joint Press Release, 6/10/99)
by Phyllis Schlafly
Senator Smith will not be taking votes away from the Republicans because those votes have already left the Republican Party. Itıs unfortunate that the Republican establishment is in denial about grassroots reality.
Bob Smith is a proven principled pro-life conservative. He is typical of the kind of voters who are alienated by the way the ³powers that be² appear to be running away from major issues and refusing to confront the Clinton agenda. The perception at the grassroots is that ³the fix is in² to anoint Governor George W. Bush as the nominee.
Unfortunately, Governor Bush has never asked the conservative movement for its support. He acts like he doesnıt want or need the partyıs conservatives. We are still waiting to hear his views on many issues - and how he will define himself as different from Bill Clinton on major concerns such as the right to life, the Yugoslav war, trade with China, judicial appointments, tax cuts, and the size of Big Government.
No Republican nominee can win the presidency without the conservative movement. If George W. Bush wins the nomination while alienating conservatives, as his father did in 1992 (because of his tax increase and breaking his word, his judicial appointments and expanding the size of the federal government), he is doomed to repeat history and the country will be the big loser - again.
The Republican National Committee recently mailed out a 23-question survey that failed to include a single question on foreign policy (the Yugoslav war, trade policies, China scandals, taxpayer handouts to corrupt foreign dictators and agencies), or on big domestic issues of health care, gun ownership, immigration, affirmative action, curbing activist judges, or government monitoring of law-abiding citizens' bank accounts and medical records.
The Republican Party cannot make the Bob Smith problem go away by attacking this man of sincerity and integrity. It can only make it go away by offering the American people a choice, not an echo of Bill Clinton's foreign and spending agenda.
Phyllis Schlafly is the national chairman of the Republican National Coalition for Life and president of Eagle Forum.
Staunch pro-lifer David Vitter defeated establishment candidate, former Governor Dave Treen, in the May 29th runoff for the Congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Bob Livingston. While the two Republican candidates showed little disagreement on most issues, it was their positions on the right to life that caused a bright line to be drawn between them. Treen, who was backed by virtually the entire state and national Republican establishment and Party apparatus, supports abortions for babies whose conception was a result of rape or incest. New Orleans Right to Life produced an issue guide that showed Treenıs support for taxpayer funding of abortion in cases of rape or incest. David Vitter, on the other hand, does not discriminate against any babies and filled out the RNC/Life Candidate Questionnaire perfectly. We are delighted to have another dedicated pro-life Representative in Congress and look forward to working with Rep. Vitter. Republican National Coalition for Life PAC played a key role in turning out the vote for Rep. Vitter. To those of you who support RNC/Life PAC with your hard-earned dollars, we thank you for your contributions.
Republican National Coalition for Life Box 618 Alton Illinois 62002|
618-462-5415 Fax: 618-462-8909 E-mail