In the latest Newsweek Eleanor Clift ends an article called stem-cell hypocrisy with this.
If Bush and his allies on the right were completely sincere about their beliefs, they would ban in vitro fertilization. As Bernstein’s story shows, even when a child is born, a lot of embryos died in the process. If they truly believe that a collection of cells no bigger than the dot at the end of a sentence is imbued with personhood, ending the practice of in vitro would be their next frontier. The notion that women could be recruited to carry all the excess embryos to term–or that more than a fraction would survive the thawing and the transfer process–is ludicrous in the extreme. “I think it’s all about the radical right and their anti-abortion agenda,” says Bernstein. “They can’t give an inch to anything that destroys their argument that life begins at conception.
Funny how Newsweek found the alleged flushing of Korans something very serious and newsworthy and yet the purposeful destruction of human life in inconsequential. Though hating to say it Eleanor Clift has a point, though she is right for the wrong reason. IVF is just as scandalous and wrong as the harvesting of humans for supposed cures. We are mainly tempted to do ESCR because of the leftover human embryos because of IVF. People are more squeamish over clone and kill, yet these human embryos are "just going to die anyway" by popular opinion.
This is one of the things I have learned to love about the Catholic faith is that there is a beautiful consistency to its doctrines. Every time I would go to research a Church teaching on some subject I was always awed by the truth that it taught. Before entering the Church I thought for sure at times I would find a ‘gotcha’ – something that would show some inconsistency. I always found the opposite in that it was myself instead who had the inconsistency.
Pope Paul VI was roundly mocked by the world when he published Humanae Vitae. He was also unfortunately mocked by other Christians who by embracing the pill also embraced an abortafacient – a form of chemical abortion. It is a sad fact that to this day that those who are otherwise against abortion and ESCR are still popping the pill. Pope Paul VI’s encyclical was prophetic in what he said would happen and like most prophets he was also ignored. When the Church spoke against methods like IVF again it was ridiculed and yet again look at the results; 40,000 or more human beings frozen till they die of shelf life. Best born before the following date could be stamped on the containers bearing these children. Also unfortunately a large percentage of our Protestant brothers have largely cooperated with the culture of death by the teaching of the various congregations of their ready acceptance of contraception, divorce, and IVF. Of course that can also be said for a large number of Catholic also who don’t follow the truth that the Church teaches.
The other day Jimmy Akin covered the topic on what would be permissible to do with frozen human embryos.
Update: Dev Thakur raises a point in the comments that the charge of hypocrisy of President Bush that "The President doesn’t want to fund IVF either, but where the heck would he get the power to BAN it?" Well I am not so sure that the President is morally against IVF since he has said in the past that it is a "process … which helps so many couples conceive children." Federal health insurance programs are not mandated to allow IVF but are allowed to. Though of course the majority of these same plans also offer abortion and contraception. So even if the President was morally against IVF there really isn’t anything he can do about it since direct Federal money isn’t being used to support it.
There is somewhat a double standard in the pro-life community where abortion is fought, yet IVF is largely ignored. I have not heard of any protests outside of a clinic that offers IVF. Sure aborturaries kill on a much larger scale, but since when is proportionalism the standard?
The larger hypocrisy is though is on Eleanor Clift’s side which talks about helping the little people and those without power to defend themselves, yet encourages the slaughter of children in the womb and the pulling of feeding tubes.
I hadn’t seen the Eleanor Clift thing, but something very similar was up at Slate today, taking the President to task for being inconsistent by supporting the death penalty and waging war in Iraq. I’m not sure if these folks are mining Catholicism for convenient arguments, or if what was new in John Paul II’s teaching on the death penalty and what may have been implicitly new in his sense of what makes a war “just”, had a large part of its motivation in his sense of what would be required to make an effective argument against the abomination of “legal” abortion in the face of the radical scepticism confronting the Church today.
The error in the argument is not the seeing ESCR, abortion, IVF etc. as all evil. It’s that the President doesn’t want to fund ESCR because it’s evil. The President doesn’t want to fund IVF either, but where the heck would he get the power to BAN it? Same with abortion: he’ll support abortion restrictions, but the Supreme Court has to reverse Roe v. Wade eventually.
This article presumes, as do many ill-informed and, forgive the expression, TOTALLY FLIPPIN’ STUPID arguments in the same vein, that Bush supported a ban on ESCR.
If you actually know how to read, you could figure out that he simply limited federal funding of ESCR.
“People are more squeamish over clone[ing]..”
For now. I hate to cast a pessimistic tone, but I predict those for ESCR will simply call cloning by another name to make it more palatable. Recall the “fetus” vs. “baby” tug of war. In fact, I think they already do when they add the word “theraputic” in front of it. Maybe it’ll morph into: theraputic replication, or self-donating organ transplant. Be on the look out is all I’m saying.
Eleanor Clift sets my teeth on edge. I can’t stand to hear her whiny voice. Yecch, blecch.
Not a very germane comment but just thought I’d throw it in.
liberal talking points! I heard the same argument (“where are the pro-lifers on IVF? they should be outraged that these leftover embryos are discarded”) on NPR (of all places) yesterday. Of course, we are outraged, and I thiink most reasonable people would agree that IVF is a line in the sand that we should never have crossed (a point made by Leon Kass during that same NPR interview). Thank you for giving props to Paul VI whose prophetic voice has been scorned all these years, even by those who have never so much as seen (much less read) Humanae Vitae. I don’t know about Ev. protestants, but Catholics have always taught this, as Jeff said, consistently. The fact that MSM outlets and even places like NPR have failed to cover the outrage, does not suggest that we are not outraged! Of course, there is nothing like trying to close the flood gates once high tide has begun (sorry for a crazily mixed metaphor). Pro-lifers ARE consistent. It seems to me we could make the argument however, that the pro-abortion groups are the ones behind this awful business of embryodestructive research because, in fact, it furthers THEIR aims! If these people are truly concerned about curing so many degenerative diseases, why don’t they pay more attention to the True and real promise of Adult Stem Cell research? this research has been proven (not definitively but) far more than the Embryodestructive sort. I recently read that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will not fund an ASC (Adult Stem Cell) study which is very promising, but continues to pour all its funds into dubious ESC ventures. Then Leon Kass is on NPR yesterday talking about progress that is being made with regards to “Embryonic-type” (but not embryodestructive) Stem Cell Research and the host of the program is going on and on about the fact that most americans don’t find the embryodestructive type morally objectionable. THEY don’t even want to explore an ethical way of proceeding – this obviously shows their hand!
As far as what to do with the leftover embryos? There is already an embryo adoption movement. Furthermore, it might not be a bad idea if we as a culture re-examined IVF. So few people are aware of Natural Procreative Technology, especially as it has been researched and devlepoed by the Paul VI institute in Omaha. Natural Family Planning (not “rhythm”) is overall more effective both in achieving OR avoiding pregnancy than are other treatments for fertility (or the chemical rendering of one infertile) We would also be better off if we would just ban those drugs (here I am talking about contraceptives) which DESTROY a woman’s fertility, thus making her (and her husband) more likely to seek IVF when they have finally decided that they “want a child.” As I type this I become more and more appreciative of the beauty of Church teaching (which is obviously stating the law of God written into nature). I also become more and more aware that we are living among a stiff-necked people so blinded to these truths that it is almost ironic! May God have mercy on us.
I would like to solicit opinions/reactions to the following line of reasoning. As the Embryodestructive debate is heating up again, I have half a mind to submit this as a letter to the editor, but I know that it must be refined to the point where it would be nearly impervious to a reasoned rebuttal, and would not be so repugnant that nobody would see my point.
Consider that two groups that have been pushing embryodestructive research are the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Alzheimer’s patient advocacy groups. Please be honest in your reactions!
>>>Let’s say Medical researchers came out and told the public that they were convinced they could develop a cure for – say – Juvenile Diabetes. The only catch? We would have to use living Alzheimer’s patients in the research process (research which would hasten their death – “but hey, what kind of life would they have anyway?!”) People would be appalled. (today, this is to say nothing of what our society may look like in twenty to thirty years!) Well, is that not precisely what we are doing today with embryodestructive stem cell research?
Any thoughts on this line of reasoning?
I have thought about “what if an actual cure sprang from the destruction of others?”
That question has been answered as recently as the German concentration camp experiments where data ascertained by freezing people alive helped provide data on “what happens to a body as it freezes to death.” To a degree, engineers and others “benefited” from that data (designing flight suits, etc.)… but at what cost? Human life. When doctors were brought forward during the 14 day dehydration death of Terri Schiavo, we learned that dehydrating to death “wasn’t particularly painful.” I wondered how they compiled that data.
It took a few years for the Third Reich to coarsen a country to declare some humans not human. It didn’t happen overnight.
The humans we’re talking about today are problematic in a society who demands impirical evidence on all things (but curiously believe, yes, aliens really do exist!). In a weird sort of way, that alien and new-age embrace by many actually gives me some hope. It means to me, in some measure, they are at least thinking outside of themselves.
Bush may sign what is presented him, but he pushes for none of it. NRO had a good piece on his behavior toward pro-life legislation. I am not impressed and have gone from backing Bush to tolerating him. After he an dhis brother watched her die…. Sorry, he could have done something.
My husband is going blind, and my children may also, from a degenerative genetic eye condition. EVEN my husband states he’d rather be blind and our kids too than cured by someone else’s death.
And embyonics stem cells are hardly what they are trumped up to be; there was just an article in the news stating that any “cures” are years if not decades off.
One thing I’ve really wondered about the whole “leftover embryo” thing: I’ve had more to do with fertility treatment than I should have, and the thing about those frozen embryos is that they aren’t just abandoned and languishing in freezers in the way people imply. There is some serious rent being paid to maintain them there ($850/initial freezing, $500/year subsequent is one set of figures I’m acquainted with). If people want to destroy their embryos outright, or give them to research, or donate them to another couple for adoption, they can do that NOW; ESCR isn’t illegal, it just can’t be federally funded. The embryos which are still frozen are, in the vast majority of cases, being held against the possibility of doing a frozen embryo transfer to the mother’s uterus in the future. It can’t always be done right away; for example, if the woman got pregnant on her first IVF cycle and had some embryos frozen as well, her doctor would not want to attempt another transfer until the first child had been weaned.
Please understand I’m not here to justify it, but just to say that it’s unlikely that most or even half of those frozen embryos are being maintained for free, out of the goodness of the clinics’ hearts. Somebody is paying to maintain them, and those people would be the genetic parents. And people don’t pay to maintain embryos which they have abandoned and which will “inevitably die.”
Whenever I watch Cliff I feel like jumping off one.