In a 2004, The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity issued a press release noting that the Journal of the American Medical Association had reported on experiments being carried out by Chicago’s Reproductive Genetics Institute. The report had to do with genetic procedures crafted to engineer “designer children” for the purpose of providing blood and/or tissue for potential use on behalf of afflicted siblings. Nine couples attempted to create children that are “genetically matched” to sick donor siblings.
Researchers created 199 embryos by in vitro fertilization. They determined that 45 of these embryos “were a suitable match for a potential stem cell transplant using either umbilical cord blood or bone marrow.” Of the 45 selected embryos, 28 were implanted and 5 were born alive. The embryos that were not considered to be a good “tissue match” were thrown away or subjected to further research that resulted in their deaths.
Amazingly, a survey by the Genetics and Public Policy Center at The John Hopkins University “shows that most Americans approve of using genetic testing and selection of embryos to make sure a baby will be a good match to donate blood or tissue to a sick brother or sister” (Medical News Today, May 4, 2004). The process can only be described as the manufacture of “slave babies.”
This type of research, that so flaunts any regard for the sacredness of human life, is but the commencement of what likely will become the most dramatic example of barbarism, of cruelty and ethical insensitivity, that will be unrivaled in the history of the planet. A variety of fundamental moral principles are being sacrificed on the altar of the goddess of “Science.”
At the heart of this controversy are two crucial issues.
What is a Human Person?
Exactly what is that “being” that results from the union of a human spermatozoon (male seed) and an ovum (female egg)?
It is nothing more, nothing less, than a human person. That is the nature of its composition at the commencement of the union; that is all it ever will be. It is neither plant, beast of the field, fowl of the air, nor domestic creature. Its DNA indelibly stamps it as human.
All this entity needs is water, food, air, and care—all the rest is simply development. There is no qualitative difference between the zygote, the embryo, the fetus, and the baby—any more than there is a qualitative difference between child, adolescent, the mature, or the elderly. These terms—all of them—are chronological indicators; they are not expressions of worth!
To assume that men and women, under the sterile guise of laboratory “science,” have the right to destroy innocent, helpless, growing persons, reflects the epitome of arrogance and an unfathomable depth of merciless depravity.
And if the survey cited above is correct, there is little doubt that the citizenry of this nation is experiencing a “dumbing down” of the most basic concepts of human value.
Human Experimentation: Is This Right or Wrong?
To contend that self-styled “scientists” have a moral right to “experiment” upon other human beings, without an individual’s consent, knowing full well that the procedure may be likely to produce death as a result of the “learning” process, is but a further indication of the rigor mortis that steadily is invading the modern conscience.
Those who argue for the pragmatic expendability of these tiny human persons are more ethically akin to the monsters of the Nazi regime than they are to the legacy of the noble Greeks who, by the Hippocratic oath, brought a sense of ethos to the medical profession. That oath, in part, says:
“I will follow that method of treatment which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; furthermore, I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion.”
How does society decide that a fellow human has “no rights” of his own? Is the criterion for exercising life-and-death control over another human being based upon age (very young or very old), self-awareness (conscious, semiconscious, or unconscious), responsiveness or otherwise, rich or poor? Just what is it?
Once some folks were disfranchised because of their ethnicity; now the same discrimination is exercised because of age or place of residence (in the womb).
America is steadily retreating into the shadows of a pre-civilized savagery that can only ultimately issue in the kind of tragic judgment that has befallen many a nation that suicidally sucked up the blood of its defenseless.
A prophet of God once declared: “Woe to him who builds a town by blood, who establishes a city by iniquity” (Hab. 2:12). There is a principle in that warning that modern medical innovators and political legislators would do well to heed!