Wesley J. Smith wrote the following at LifeNews.com on September 7th and 19th: “If you want to see what is likely to go awry in medical ethics and public healthcare policy, pay attention to the advocacy of bioethicists – at least those who don’t identify themselves as ‘conservative’ or ‘Catholic.’ In their many journal articles and presentations at academic symposia, they unabashedly advocate for discarding the sanctity – and equality-of-life ethic as our moral cornerstone. Instead, most favor invidious and systemic medical discrimination predicated on a patient’s ‘quality of life,’ which would endow the young, healthy, and able-bodied with the highest moral value – and hence, with the greatest claim to medical resources.
“Thanks to the work of bioethics, life-taking policies that a few decades ago were ‘unthinkable’ now are unremarkable. Withholding tube-supplied food and water from the cognitively disabled until they die – Terri Schiavo’s fate – is now legal and popularly accepted. The legalization of assisted suicide is a constant threat. (A reality now in 6 states.) Even where lethal prescriptions or injections cannot be legally provided, some of our most notable bioethicists urge that doctors be permitted to help elderly and others commit suicide by self-starvation – a process known in euthanasia advocacy circles as VSED (Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking).” Some of the dangerous ‘advances’ being promoted in bioethics include:
Infanticide: “When German doctors were hanged at Nuremberg for committing infanticide, it was thought that killing disabled babies was an unrepeatable historical evil. But human memory is short…on September 4 of this year, Newsweek published an article promoting late-term abortion and infanticide in response to the Zika outbreak.” Cornell Law Professor Sherry F. Colb wrote, “Because bodily integrity may no longer be a plausible driver of the abortion right [at the late stage of pregnancy], the choice to terminate the life of the fetus or child truly becomes a form of euthanasia rather than abortion…the issue of euthanasia nonetheless lurks and beckons to us to answer the question: might some lives be better off ended than permitted to continue, given what is in store for them?” Smith concludes, “In the Netherlands, a checklist called the Groningen Protocol is used to determine which disabled or dying infants are eligible for infanticide. In our current bioethical climate, infanticide falls somewhere between ‘debatable’ and ‘justifiable’.
Killing for Organs: “The ‘dead donor rule’ which says that vital organs can only be taken from the certifiably deceased, has been under steady attack for years. The latest example was just published in the Journal of Medical Ethics by bioethicist Zoe Fritz: “Where it is inevitable that an incapacitous patient is going to die – and specifically when it has been agreed through the courts that a patient in a PVS is going to have CANH [tube-supplied sustenance] withdrawn, it could be in a patient’s best interests to have a drug that would stop their heart and to have vital organs donated to a family member…By extension, it could also be in the patient’s best interests to donate their organs to someone else, if that was consistent with their previously expressed wishes.” Smith comments, “I can think of no faster way to destroy people’s confidence in organ donation than to kill people for their organs. Not only that, but if this were permitted, decisions about withdrawing care would quickly become intertwined with the issue of organ harvesting, transforming patients into organ farms. Killing for organs – which is not yet happening – is currently considered ‘debatable’.” Euthanasia laws are some of the most liberal in the world in the Netherlands and Belgium. More than 40 patients have already had their organs harvested after being euthanized in these countries.
“Futile Care”: “Medical futility, or ‘futile care,’ permits a doctor to withdraw wanted life-sustaining treatment from a patient based on the doctor’s perception of the patient’s quality of life – and, less mentioned, based on the cost of the patient’s care. Texas has a law that allows hospital bioethics committees to refuse service or discontinue treatment – even against a patient’s written advance directive. Many a patient has died after such forced removal of treatment. There has been abundant litigation surrounding the issue, with the bioethics movement leading the charge to allow bioethicists and doctors to decide when a patient should die. Despite this contentiousness, I believe that futile care is at this point considered ‘justifiable.’ These and other policies that view imposed or chosen death as the answer to human suffering and medicalresource concerns are the products of careful planning and promotion. In 1970, an editorial in California Medicine celebrated the ‘inevitability of death selection and death control’ in a project that would culminate in the ‘fulfillment and betterment of mankind in what is almost certain to be a biologically oriented world society.’ Back then, the very idea of death control was unthinkable. A mere forty-six years later – intellectually gestated by the bioethics movement – it is quickly becoming unexceptionable.”
Michael Cook reported at MercatorNet.com on Oct 29th that Stephanie Packer,33, from California, has scleroderma, a terminal disease. She claims that her insurance company refused to pay for an expensive chemotherapy drug which could extend her life and give her more time with her children. However, the insurance company did agree to cover the cost of drugs for assisted suicide – and she would only have to pay $1.20 in out-of-pocket costs. She says the State’s broken health care system must be fixed “so that people start to live instead of feeling that they have to choose to die.”
Submitted by Regina Carbonaro 631-243-1435
HEALTH & SCIENCE
FDA PURCHASES ABORTED BABY PARTS
Information published by the FDA and the
General Services Administration indicate that the Food and Drug Administration has signed a new con- tract to purchase body parts from aborted babies. A June 13 ‘pre-solicitation notice’ for the contract stated, “The objective is to acquire tissue for humanized mice. [The contractor would] provide the human fetal tissue needed to continue the ongoing research being led by the FDA. Fresh human tissues are required for implantation into severely immune-compromised mice to create chimeric animals that have a human immune system.”
The GSA’s federal contract database states that Ad- vanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), a non-profit based in the San Francisco Bay area, was awarded this $15,900 contract, which runs through July 25, 2019. The Congressional Research Service states that “Fetal tissue used in research is obtained through elective abortions. CNS News reported that the FDA is using federal tax dollars to create a demand for human body parts that must be taken from babies who are aborted.” Steven Ertelt wrote at Lifenews.com on August 7th, “Because it would not be able to create its ‘humanized mice’ without fresh tissue taken from aborted babies, the FDA also has an interest in the continuation of le- galized abortions at a stage in fetal development when the tissue needed to create these mice can be retrieved from the aborted baby.”
CNS News contacted the FDA concerning this con- tract. The FDA confirmed that its June 13 pre- solicitation notice for a contract to “acquire tissue for humanized mice” and the July 25th contract it signed with ABR refer to the same deal. However, the FDA declined to answer 17 other questions from CNS News. The FDA provided CNS News with a three- paragraph statement, stressing that it was committed to making certain its research followed “all legal require- ments” and met “the highest ethical standards”.
Ertelt reported that in addition to the “destruction of human life and the exploitation of aborted babies by using their body parts for research, the pro-life move- ment has long questioned the ethics of transplanting human brain cells into other species.” Research at the University of Rochester involved injecting mice with glial cells from human fetuses. Glial cells…support neurons in the nervous system. The mice incorporated these glial cells into their brain and “outperformed normal mice almost fourfold in a variety of cognition tests.” The researchers stressed that the mice still had mouse brains, saying “This does not provide the ani- mals with additional capabilities that could in any way
be ascribed or perceived as specifically human. Ra- ther, the human cells are simply improving the effi- ciency of the mouse’s own neural networks. It’s still a mouse.”” The paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience clearly states that the glial cells came from second trimester abortions. The scientists are hoping to study the contribution of glial cells to hu- man neurological disorders. The ends can’t justify the means. Ertelt stated, “the source of the glial cells morally taints all their research. They could have used cells from ethical sources like a natural miscar- riage, but they did not.”
Ertelt notes that “the mixing of human brain cells with those of other species, especially those of other primates, raises serious ethical considerations.”
Dr. David Prentice, Vice President and Research Director at the Charlotte Lozier Institute stated, “It is outrageous that the FDA would aid in the trafficking of aborted baby parts and fetal tissue. This not only fosters government-sponsored participation in unethi- cal research but continues use of outdated scientific methods. Humanized mice can and have been made, for years, using ethical cell sources, including umbili- cal cord blood and peripheral blood stem cells. High quality, modern scientific research has no need for unethical, tainted practices and grisly sources. Our government should lead in ethics and science and should rescind any contracts for use of aborted tis- sue.”
Tom McClusky, President of March for Life Ac- tion noted, “After an undercover investigation (David Daleiden/CMP videos) and a Congressional investi- gation exposed the horrors of an industry that har- vests and sells baby body parts, there is no excuse for anyone, much less the taxpayer funded federal gov- ernment to enter into contracts that prop up this grue- some practice. Such contracts should be immediately terminated, and the baby body parts trafficking indus- try shut down.”
Lila Rose, Live Action Founder and President said, “The FDA’s purchasing of fetal tissue from aborted babies is immoral and horrific, violating hu- man dignity and implicating the American taxpayer in the gruesome trade of human body parts…These children deserved care and protection, but instead were violently stripped of their fundamental rights and are now being sold piecemeal. The company that the FDA is doing business with, ABR, is currently under federal investigation for colluding with Planned Parenthood to sell aborted baby body parts for profit. We call on the FDA to terminate its con- tract with ABR immediately and cease the experi- mentation on the bodies of aborted children.”
Submitted by Regina Carbonaro 631-243-1435
HEALTH & SCIENCE
FETAL TISSUE RESEARCH
Two house subcommittees were scheduled to hold a hearing December 13th regarding ethical alternatives to fetal tissue research. The Health and Human Ser- vices Department is reviewing contracts involving federal funds used for research involving fetal tissue harvested from elective abortions. In 2015, David Daleiden, through the Center for Medical Progress, released undercover videos which revealed repre- sentatives of abortion facilities and related compa- nies discussing the sale of baby body parts. Those videos led to congressional investigations which re- sulted in criminal referrals of procurement compa- nies and abortion providers. These violations in- volved profiting from the sale of tissue, infringing on patient privacy and modifying surgical abortion procedures to obtain certain tissues.
David Prentice and Tara Sander Lee, scholars from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, spoke at the Heritage Foundation’s “Fetal Tissue Research: Antiquated and Unethical” event in December. Prentice and Lee noted that in 1988 President Reagan issued a mora- torium on the use of federal funds for research using fetal tissue obtained through abortions. President Clinton lifted that moratorium in 1993. In 1993, Congress then passed legislation on transplantation research using fetal tissue which included provisions and guidelines for informed consent and payments for procuring and transferring the tissue.
Those who support fetal tissue research use the ex- ample of the polio vaccine. However, these propo- nents neglect to mention that advancements were made using ‘historic fetal cell lines.’ These cell lines do not rely on current abortions. The original polio vaccines used monkey tissue and fetal cell lines. Currently, there are no vaccines made with fresh fetal tissue. In addition, transplanting fetal tissue to treat diseases such as anemia, diabetes and Parkin- son’s has been unsuccessful. The transplantation of fetal stem cells has also been unsuccessful.
Prentice and Lee noted that fetal tissue research has become a $100 million industry with very little oversight. For example, a consent form from a Planned Parenthood facility to procure tissue from an aborted baby claimed that fetal tissue research led to a “cure for such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and AIDS. Prentice and Lee said this blatantly false statement should never have been printed or used to influence a woman’s deci- sion regarding an abortion. Researchers are currently
targeting the use of fetal tissue for research regarding Zika, respiratory distress syndrome in infants, Down’s and HIV/ tuberculosis.
Lee said Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), based out of California, is the “oldest continuously operating whole- saler of aborted fetal body parts in the United States. A re- port in September from the Center for Medical Progress concluded that Advanced Bioscience Resources has played middle-man for tens of millions of dollars in transactions over freshly aborted baby body parts since its founding in 1989.” ABR records indicated that in June 2014 they paid $60 for a 20-week-old aborted fetus, and sold the baby’s organs and tissues, including brain, eyes, liver, thymus and lungs to five researchers and received over $2,000. ABR considered that a ‘service fee’. They also charged for ship- ping, screening and freezing. Lee stated there “was much more money that was transferred in addition to just that ser- vice fee that they claim.”
Lee continued, “So the real question is, is this a service fee or was there a profit being made? [ABR] determined prices that they wanted to charge depending on how old the fetus was. If the fetus was in the second trimester, they would charge like $200 back in 2010. But then in 2015, they upped that to $340. Whereas for a first trimester fetus, they were charging $420 in 2010, but then that increased to $550 in 2015. If this is truly just a simple service fee, why did those numbers increase over the years?”
There are ethical alternatives to tissue derived from abor- tions. These sources include the placenta, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, discarded surgical tissue, and postmortem tissue. Prentice and Lee highlighted the use of discarded surgical tissue to identify “key mechanisms involved in de- veloping human pulmonary valves.” They also brought to light the fact that a “small biopsy of skin may be used to grow cells that can imitate and resemble embryonic stem cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells then can be pro- grammed to generate an ‘organoid’ that can resemble a brain, lung, kidney, or liver.” Adult stem cells have been used to treat over 1.5 million people worldwide for cancer, stroke, spinal cord injury, and other diseases and conditions.
There have been so many scientific advances using ethical alternatives to aborted fetal tissue. HHS should issue a mor- atorium on federal funding for aborted fetal tissue research and promote ethical alternatives. As Lee noted, ethics must be our priority – “Using ethical sources is absolutely always the right decision.”
(Sources: The Daily Signal, Rachel Del Guidice, 12/3/18 and Melanie Israel 12/6/18)
Submitted by Regina Carbonaro 631-243-1435
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Genetic Disruption of Human Beings
Margaret Somerville, professor of Bioethics at the School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame Austral- ia, addressed the ethics of three-parent babies at Merca- torNet.com on July 18, 2018. She stated, “Now we are faced with unprecedented 21st century reproductive tech- nologies which can be used to change the genetic es- sence of ourselves (our DNA) when we are embryos and in such a way that the changes will be passed on to our future descendants. Should we do this? In other words, is it ethical to disrupt our modern-human genetic heritage which has evolved naturally over at least the last 200,000 years?” She continued, “proponents of the technology [three-parent IVF] want [the term] replaced by the less alarming and more normal and familiar sounding ‘mitochondrial DNA transplants.”
Currently in Australia it is criminal to create an em- bryo other than for reproduction, or with more than two biological parents, or who has inheritable alterations of the human germ line – genes passed on from generation to generation – or to implant such an embryo in a wom- an’s uterus.
Somerville said, “Good facts are essential to good ethics.” She then explained the technology involved in three-parent embryos. “An embryo results from the un- ion of a man’s sperm and a woman’s ovum. The ovum has a DNA nucleus and, external to that, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the cytoplasm surrounding the nucle- us. The mtDNA is inherited only from the woman and, from the time we are conceived until we die, converts energy from nutrients to energy for the cells that consti- tute every human being. Some women have defective mtDNA which can result in mild to very serious disease in their children. Three-parent embryos are created using IVF and replacing the defective mtDNA of the woman who will have the child with the healthy mtDNA of an- other woman. This is known as mitochondrial replace- ment therapy (MRT) which can be carried out in four different ways, but the two most prominent are maternal spindle transfer (MST) and pronuclear transfer (PNT).
“MST involves using a donor ovum with healthy mtDNA, extracting its nuclear DNA and replacing it with the nuclear DNA removed from an ovum of the in- tended mother, resulting in a ‘combination ovum’ with mostly healthy mtDNA, which is fertilized with the fa- ther’s sperm to create an embryo. Importantly, MST does not involve creating an embryo from the donor’s ovum and then destroying that embryo by enucleating it. The embryo’s mtDNA is only ‘mostly healthy’, because some of the mother’s defective mtDNA in her ovum’s cytoplasm is ordinarily attached to the nuclear DNA and transferred with it.
“In contrast PNT does involve creating an embryo with the intention of destroying it. An embryo is created from the future mother’s ovum and the father’s sperm
(‘mother’s embryo’) and another embryo from a healthy mtDNA ovum donor and the father’s sperm (‘donor em- bryo’). The nuclear DNA is removed from the ‘donor embryo’, destroying it, and the nuclear DNA from the ‘mother’s embryo’ is transferred to the enucleated do- nor embryo creating an embryo with mostly healthy mitochondria.”
There are several ethical questions regarding this process. Three-parent embryos are created using IVF technology in the lab. Those who regard the IVF pro- cess as morally unacceptable would reject this process from the outset. There are others who may have “limiting conditions”. Those might include not creating more embryos than those that will be implanted, thus allowing all created embryos a chance to live. This would make MST acceptable, but not PNT, as PNT re- quires creating an embryo and then destroying it when the nuclear DNA is removed. Those who do not believe that embryos have any moral status would accept these procedures.
Somerville said the ethical concerns go “beyond the ethical issues raised by the technology itself to matters such as claims of rights to have a genetically related child, the ethics of alternative means of founding a fam- ily, and so on. A technology-related consideration in- cludes the ethics of alteration of the human germline, a possibility that for many elicits intense fear and for some great hope…when we didn’t have the technology to alter the germline, there was almost universal agree- ment among bioethicists that such alteration would al- ways be ethically wrong. Rather, we agreed that we had obligations to hold the germline intact for future genera- tions as the common heritage of human kind. Now, when human germline alteration has become possible, some bioethicists see it as ethically acceptable in order to avoid serious genetically transmitted diseases…If germline modification were allowed, we would need to consider whether its use as therapy for serious, other- wise untreatable, genetic diseases is ethically different from its use for enhancement, that is, creating designer children. Another issue is whether three-parent IVF would establish a precedent of the ethical acceptability of ‘designer children’”. She warns that we must look at the risks and harms of this procedure. It is possible for donors to be exploited. She asks if creating a three- parent embryo is “manufacturing a child…a contraven- tion of human dignity?” Somerville also addresses the question of informed consent. Would couples consent to great risk and harm in order to have a child? Does the child have the right to know the identity of the mtDNA donor? The IVF industry would support this technology as a source of increased business. Governments would likely support it as a cost-saving measure (social ser- vices costs for children with mtDNA disease). Canadian ethicist Francois Baylis concluded that this technology is inevitable as “no genetic or reproductive technology seems to be too dangerous or too transgressive” in to- day’s culture.
Submitted by Regina Carbonaro 631-243-1435
Last year, Chinese researcher He Jiankui an- nounced that he used the gene-editing tool Crispr to alter the DNA of twin girls by inserting a mu- tated variant of a gene into the girls’ chromosome at the embryo stage to make them immune to the HIV virus. Jiankui’s ‘creation’ of the first gene- edited babies was criticized world-wide as being unethical and risky. Chinese authorities subse- quently announced a moratorium on the practice stating it “seriously violates” national law and medical ethics.
A recently released study of genetic make-up and death registry information warned that indi- viduals with this mutated gene have a 20% higher risk of early death compared to the global popula- tion. The study was done by researchers at the University of Berkeley California. The study ex- amined data on over 400,000 people of British ancestry from the UK Biobank. Those studied inherited the specific mutation. Jiankui attempted to create the same mutation but failed. The twin girls carry different alterations of the same gene.
Malcolm Ritter explained at APNews.com on 6/3/19 that when the gene “is working normally, it lets certain cells of the immune system display a protein on their surfaces. HIV has co-opted that protein to use as a doorway to infect those cells. The mutation prevents that protein from appear- ing, and so sharply reduces the risk of HIV infec- tion…studies have suggested that carrying the mutation has some drawbacks, including a heightened risk of death from flu.” Ritter noted that the Berkeley study “suggests tinkering with a gene to try to fix one problem may cause others.”
Rasmus Nielsen, senior author of the study, stated, “You should consider all the effects of mutations you induce.” Ritter reported that Niel- sen said the study does not apply to gene therapy that is currently used to inactivate the gene in the blood cells of individuals already infected with HIV to keep the virus under control. In these cas- es, the disabled gene is probably an advantage.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ex- plained that current gene editing experiments fo- cus on the replacement of a defective gene with a working gene or removing a harmful gene. The Nielsen study subjects did not have a normal working version of a gene. That is what Jiankui tried to create. Ritter wrote, “Fauci said the work
is more a lesson that genetic protection against one thing can raise vulnerability to something else.” The Berkeley study’s authors wrote, “The cost of resistance to HIV may be increased susceptibility to other, and perhaps more common, diseases…Introduction of new or derived mutations in humans using Crispr technology…comes with considerable risk even if the mutations provide a perceived advantage.”
Patrick Galey wrote at Agence France-Presse (6/3/19), that the authors warned “there was a clear statis- tical trend that should discourage repeats of He’s experi- ment…David Curtis, honorary Professor at University College London’s Genetics Institute said the new study provided a clear look at the possible unintended conse- quences of gene-editing in humans.” Curtis said, “There are many other examples in medicine where an interven- tion intended to treat one condition inadvertently causes major unexpected problems elsewhere. This sends us a warning that we should be extremely cautious around the introduction of therapies involving modifying the genetic code.” Galey also quoted Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute in London: “All this shows once more that He Jiankui was foolish to choose CCR5 to mu- tate in his attempts at germline genome editing. We simply do not yet know enough about the gene.”
Christine Rousselle reported at CNA (6/4/19) that the House Appropriations Committee “reinstated a condition in 2020 spending bills prohibiting embryonic gene edit- ing. The amendment was passed in a vote of the full House Appropriations Committee…Without the amend- ment, U.S. scientists would be able to approve and con- duct clinical trials that would involve the creation or modification of human embryos…After a congressional subcommittee passed a draft of the annual appropriations bill omitting the rider, an amendment to reinsert the ban passed with near unanimous consent…Since 2016, the appropriations bill has contained language that bans the Food and Drug Administration from performing research in clinical trials “in which a human embryo is intentional- ly created or modified to include a heritable genetic mod- ification.”… Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), ranking member of the subcommittee…said that human genetic experimentation is loaded with ethical questions largely unaddressed by researchers. “If we cede this framework of science and ethics to maverick bioengineers who are detached from larger societal considerations, the risks of harm are real, and we will divert these resources away from real, viable alternatives.”” Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, stated in March 2019, “Given the lack of compelling medical need, the safety concerns, and the profound societal and philosophical issues—NIH strongly agrees that an international mora- torium on reproductive uses of human germline gene ed- iting should be put into effect.”
Submitted by Regina Carbonaro 631-243-1435
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