President Obama overturned the Bush prohibition on using newly developed embryonic stem cells. If any reactions from the public are mixed, this one qualifies. Tons of people cheered, and the Right To Life core Republicans and the Pope cry out in horror.
Those in favor of using these left over, usually abandoned frozen embryos argue that an embryo is as much a human, as an apple seed is an apple tree. People will chew up or spit out an apple seed, but would cut down an apple tree only with careful thought and after seeking some other way to do what needs to be done without sacrificing a fruit tree. The embryo is a tiny blastocyst that has no human features. Some would accept that there is, within the embryo, the makings of a human, and to destroy the embryo is to kill that human potential.
Since many believe that human life begins at conception, these true believers hold that all unborn life is holy, sacred, and must be protected from the murder of abortion and stem cell research. For a long time I said that if these right-to-lifers really believed that these frozen unused, left over embryos were sacred that they should form some sort of organization where they recruit surrogate mother’s to be impregnated by these left over embryos, and then either keep, or adopt out the resulting babies.
Well it turns out that there actually is such a Save the Embryo Movement, and there have actually been surrogate mothers who have given birth to these left over embryos, and those children have come to be known as “Snowflake Children.”
The idea of saving these embryos is a sign that some people actually believe what they say about the Right To Life, however, it is not enough to address the matter. Since 1998 there have been 134 so called Snowflake Children born, but there are approximately 400,000 frozen, left over embryos resting in a freezing bath of liquid nitrogen. How many women are going to line up to be incubator for these 400,000 unborn human seedlings?
The truth is this:
1. many people would not want to allow their unwanted or unneeded embryos planted in the wombs of strangers.
2. there are not enough willing receptacles, at least not where they are needed, when they are needed, to make use of these 400,000 embryos.
3. most of these embryos are discarded as medical waste.
Embryos can’t just be stored in the side by side freezer section in your kitchen. The conditions to ensure the embryos remain viable are expensive conditions to create and maintain, and once the couple have had their wanted children, they are not in a position to pay out indefinitely to keep their left over embryos in cold storage.
If the embryos are almost certainly heading to a landfill as medical waste then why would anyone object to using that medical waste to do research that could save life, and provide a higher quality of life? I have always wondered why so many Right To Life believers are often also Capital Punishment Advocates. Apparently life is worth more to them before it is born than after it is born.
My mama use to tell me that I was all the time straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. What my mother was talking about is how you can get all hung up on something little and end up killing yourself over some big issue you were not noticing until it was too late. Stem cell research is like that for me. Yes, an embryo is alive, and yes it is the earliest stage of being a human. But facts are facts, and one fact ignored by many Right to Lifers is that most of these left over embryos are destroyed as medical waste, and that is a waste when it could be used to save life, or improve life. Maybe tossing out the embryos is bad, but not salvaging the stem cells to help people compounds the evil.
In World War I Sergeant York won the Congressional Metal of Honor for killing and capturing a lot of his German enemies. This was all the more surprising because Sergeant York was against killing under any circumstances. When asked why he killed when he was opposed to killing, the old soldier said that he thought, by killing a few of the enemy he could save more people. It was a trade off. It was a reasonable, ethical, difficult, unpleasant, and logical trade off.
» left by Jean Horst (4 years 70 days ago.)
Hi Tex, Thanks for the thoughtful and well-written article. I've often wondered as well about the life-begins-at-conception argument. I know many staunch right-to-lifers who are horrified at stem cell research because in their view it destroys a human life, but almost all of them have used some form of hormone based birth control that does the very same thing. Those birth control methods, such as the pill, do not prevent conception, they merely insure that the fertilized eggs are flushed out of the body because there is no uterine lining for the egg to attach to. I've just always wondered why one is ok and the other is not.
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» left by (4 years 70 days ago.)
In the Bible there is a passage that says there is a time for every season. It goes on to say there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to kill and a time to refrain from killing. I do believe that abortion kills, and that includes the killing of embryos. The thing is that death is not always the same, that there are differences in deaths. For example, people who are loved are sometimes allowed to die because their suffring and quality of life is so horrible and they love those family members too much to allow their suffering to continue. Some take overt actions to cause their loved one's death, and some just stop treatment, and increase pain killers until their loved one passes with as much peace and as free of pain as possible. We object to killing and then send soldiers into battle and encourage them to kill. The killing is never good, but it is sometimes necessary, or at least it is less bad.
It is obvious to me that most of the avid Right to Live supporters are hung up on the abortion issue, but only on a narrow focal point in that issue. If you really object to abortion there should be huge support and private funding pouring in to adoption programs, and sex education, and birth control.
There is a lack of pragmatism in the Right to Life movement. It is obvious to most people that sex is a popular activity and it is not likely to stop, ever. People have a lot of sex without wanting to have babies. This means there are going to be unwanted pragnancies, incest and rape babies, and extra embryos in ferternity clinics. This means, right or wrong, law or no law, there are going to be discarded embryos and aborted babies no matter what anyone thinks is right and no matter what people legislate. Taking a bad thing, or an unfortunate reality, and making something possitive out of it seems to support the scripture that says, "all things work together for good." The scripture does not say that all things that happen are good. It says that good can come out of all things that happen good, or bad. Everything works together so that even when bad stuff happens some good can still emerge.Respond to this comment
» left by Anonymous (4 years 69 days ago.)
Tex, in answering those who wonder, "I formed you in your mothers womb." Now that is for those who believe in the Word and walk the walk. Choice once again that all have to make individually. Once again I will say it, choice, science over God. Not right or wrong personal belief. Rhetorically I might ask, if one has no fear of God why would one be concerned about Him? If they follow the doctrines of men then no matter what they profess by mouth is hollow and no matter what argument, reagrdless of basis, will be accepted. Best wishes.
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» left by (4 years 68 days ago.)
I prefer to delete comments by writers who refuse to give their names, but in the spirit of allowing all sides to voice their views I have not deleted this comment.
It is very wrong to think that people of faith all have to believe the same thing. As soon as Christians start eliminating those who deviate from the truth as they see it, their group gets smaller, as if they were standing in a circular firing squad. God says not to kill and then ordered the killing of whole communities, every man, woman, baby, and even the animals. What the Bible says in one place is often modified or contradicted in another place. While abortion is not mentioned in the scriptures, there are passages in the Mosaic Law about what to do in specific instances and we may extrapolate from these passages. In one place the law states that if an ox gores a woman and she dies there is a penalty that includes the death of the ox’s owner. In another passage if the ox gores a pregnant woman, and the woman lives but the infant dies there is a lesser penalty. From this passage we can extrapolate that in God’s eyes a person is worth more after birth than before birth, because the Bible states there is a greater punishment for killing an adult woman and a lesser penalty for killing an unborn person.Respond to this comment