Which candidates are pro-life?

A Publication of the Republican National Coalition for Life March/April 2001 - No. 38
The Future is Now
By William Kristol

For years, we have been "progressing" step by step down a road while averting our gaze from the road's destination. Now it looms before us. Will we continue to sleepwalk? Or will we at least stop to consider where it is we are going—even if we cannot yet summon up the courage seriously to consider retracing some of our steps, and embarking on a new direction?

There will always be sophists and scientists, and humanitarians who will explain why any particular "advance" shouldn't be stopped, or can't be stopped, or isn't fundamentally different from previous steps we have taken. And it's of course true that the lines aren't as bright as one would like between medical gene therapy and eugenics, between scientific experimentation and exploitation, between a better human world and a new inhuman world. But to fail to draw lines is passively to submit to a scientific revolution in genetics and biotechnology that threatens our liberty and our dignity.

Over half a century ago, C.S. Lewis saw it coming. In The Abolition of Man, Lewis explained what "Man's conquest of Nature really means and especially the final stage in the conquest, which, perhaps, is not far off":

[W]hat we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument. . . . [T]he man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last a race of conditioners who really can cut out posterity in what shape they please. . . . It is not that they are bad men. They are not men at all. . . . [T]hey have stepped into the void. Nor are their subjects necessarily unhappy men. They are not men at all: they are artifacts. Man's final conquest has proved to be the abolition of Man.

Before this prospect, before this possibility, every other issue pales not into insignificance, for many other issues are significant, but at least into lesser significance. The challenge of the scientific revolution in genetics and biotechnology, of scientific "progress" loosed from natural, human, or religious moorings, is the challenge we face. Isn't it time to start drawing lines?

This article is reprinted with permission of The Weekly Standard, where it first appeared on February 12, 2001. For more information on subscribing to The Weekly Standard please call 1-800-283-2014 or visit the website www.weeklystandard.com.

A few news items from the first month of 2001:
"Scientists have created the first genetically modified monkey, an advance that could lead to customized primates for medical research and that brings the possibility of genetic manipulation closer than ever to humans."
     Washington Post, January 12, 2001
"Britain eased curbs on embryo research, effectively sanctioning the creation of cloned human embryos."
     Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2001
"Scientific research groups are becoming increasingly concerned that President Bush may block federal funds for research on so-called embryonic stem cells. . . . But equally alarming, some researchers say, are signals from the White House that Bush might also cut off funding for a related and much larger branch of research: studies that rely on conventional tissues retrieved from induced abortions. . . . More than 135 NIH-funded projects rely specifically on fetal tissues, and many more are believed to use those tissues incidentally. . . . Among the NIH-funded studies is one in California in which human fetal tissues have been transplanted into mice to create rodents with humanized immune systems."      Washington Post, January 26, 2001
"A well-known Italian fertility specialist and his U.S. colleague have announced plans to clone human beings, apparently becoming the first scientists with expertise in human reproduction to publicly set such a goal."
     Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2001
"Late last year, genetic engineering watchdog groups warned that the European Union had granted a patent in December 1999 to an Australian company for a process that would allow the creation of 'chimerical' creatures—human/animal hybrids. . . . This patent specifically covers the possible creation of embryos made containing both 'cells from humans and mice, sheep, pigs, cattle, goats or fish.'"
     National Catholic Register, January 28, 2001
"One of the leading children's hospitals in Britain illegally harvested hearts, brains, eyes and other organs from thousands of dead children without the consent of their parents, according to a government report published Tuesday."
     Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2001

Human Cloning ­ Will It Happen? 
CNSNews.com is exploring the moral, ethical and legal ramifications of human cloning in a series focused on recent occurrences in this area of science. In a release dated February 2nd, Cybercast News Service made the following points:

  • There are an estimated 4,000 cloned animals worldwide today, just four years after Dolly the Sheep became the first such scientific experiment. Can humans be far behind?

  • A private group of scientists in the United Kingdom now says recent technological advances will enable them to clone a human by the year 2003, an audacious goal that may increase the public's acceptance of an idea that not too long ago was limited to moviemaking fiction.

  • Daniel McConchie of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity argues cloning will simply be "designer medicine" for the rich and famous who will have themselves cloned, and then destroy the new life so as to harvest stem cells or neonatal tissues.

  • "It just seems like science fiction," said William Saunders, of the Family Research Council. But we're very close to that. If people don't stop and see the terrible things that are done in the name of science, then the human consciousness becomes dulled to this, so I wouldn't say anything is impossible."

The February 6 edition of The Washington Times said, "Clearly the cloning issue has attracted public attention and there is widespread public sentiment to ban this practice." "Now is the time to act, before the public grows accustomed to the thought of therapeutic cloning and inevitability of custom engineered human embryos. Once the common sense of the masses is dulled, it will become increasingly difficult to muster the political will to reverse the current trend . . ."

"Among other ideas, eugenicists have proposed (a) the cloning of organ donors who would be mutilated or destroyed [killed] for the benefit of others, (b) the genetic creation of a human-animal hybrid [chimera] race, (c) the custom design of specialized human beings with gene sequences that make them better suited for combat situations or dangerous environments, (d) the design of a genetically superior’ super-race, (e) the elimination of genetically distinct groups of human beings who are genetically inferior’ . . ."

The issues at hand are far too important to be left to the confines of obscure academic journals that have no binding force on the eugenicists’ grand schemes for reshaping humanity."

David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute, in a January 29 press release.

Genetic Screening is Happening Now  
One of Britain's biggest insurance companies has admitted using unapproved genetic tests for potentially fatal diseases when assessing whether to offer life insurance coverage. Norwich Union Life was forced to admit that it had been using experimental tests for breast and ovarian cancer and for Alzheimer's disease when underwriting some insurance applications. The discovery prompted Members of Parliament to call for urgent government action to further regulate the insurance industry. Dr. Ian Gibson, a member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, accused Norwich Union of trying to set up a "genetic ghetto." He said, "These companies are attempting to identify a genetic underclass which can only lead to them profiting and individuals being discriminated against."

"Choose Life" License Plates Proposed in Texas 
Rep. John Shields (R-San Antonio) has introduced a bill that would establish a new "Choose Life" specialty license plate. It would cost $20 more than standard plates and the funds would go to adoption service providers. "Choose Life" license plates made their debut in Florida where they have outsold the state's 50 other specialty plates with more than 8,400 drivers buying them.

Fertilized Eggs Don't Implant 
By J. C. Willke, M.D.

Every time I see the phrase, "the fertilized egg then implants in the uterus," I'm tempted to tear my hair out. I fully understand why pro-abortion people use this phraseology. But it is beyond my comprehension to understand why so many pro-life people repeat these words. I'm sure the pro-life people who do this mean well, but they must understand that they're helping the pro-abortion movement when they continue to repeat this kind of biologic nonsense.

First, let's review our physiology. Conception (fertilization) consists of the union of sperm and ovum. The penetration of the ovum by the sperm, the integration and finally the beginning of the first cell division encompasses approximately twenty-four hours. The medical name for this single cell stage is zygote. Then cell division occurs and, by the end of the first week, this tiny new human consists of several hundred cells. During that first week of life, this new human floats freely down the mother's tube and, when one week old, give or take a day or two, this new living human implants within the nutrient lining of the womb.

Understand what implants ­ not the single cell fertilized egg, but a blastocyst, a developing human that is several hundred cells at this stage. The fertilized egg does not implant. When it reaches the womb, it is not a single cell, and if it still was, it could not implant. Only a one-week-old living human embryo can implant.

Why does the pro-abortion industry continually speak of fertilized eggs implanting? They say it with something of a sneer. Whoever heard of a fertilized egg being a "full human"? The very words "fertilized egg" do not conjure up in anyone's mind the full human being that this new biologic entity in fact is. Rest assured, semantically speaking, they know exactly what they are doing when they continue to speak of fertilized eggs. It's much easier to kill, to obliterate, and to destroy a fertilized egg than a living human embryo. They will continue to use "fertilized egg." We have to stop using it.

What is the proper terminology for a pro-life person? The proper terminology should demonstrate and speak to what this new biologic entity is. The proper words are "living human embryo." Let's remember, it's easier to kill a fertilized egg than a one-week-old living human embryo.

Some speak of pre-embryos, but this is just a politically correct bit of jargon whose sole purpose is to dehumanize this living human in his or her first week of life. A pre-embryo consists of several million eager sperm swimming after one ovum, but when one of them connects and fertilizes the ovum, this is no longer a pre-embryo; this is now an embryo. And after the first cell stage, the proper term to use is "embryo." After fertilization, there is no such entity as a pre-embryo.

So let's make a New Year's resolution. Let's, please God, have every pro-life person immediately quit talking about fertilized eggs implanting. This is a biologic impossibility and, in fact, it is rather subtle pro-abortion propaganda. Let's use the proper word - "a one-week-old living human embryo."

Reprinted from the February 2001 Life Issues Connector, a publication of Life Issues Institute.

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