On the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009, Dr. Oz declared that the stem cell debate was effectively “over”. He explained that embryonic stem cells were harder to control and touted the then brand new discovery of induced pluripotent (Ips) stem cells.
I know many in the pro-life movement who agree with Dr. Oz’ assessment and, in many ways, he was right. In terms of regenerative medicine, embryonic stem cells continue to be out-performed by their adult counterparts. And even Ips cells, as relatively new as the research is compared to ESCR, are showing much more promise.
That being the case, coupled with the fact that many high-profile scientists have abandoned cloning/ESCR for Ips cells, and certainly after the announcement a few years ago that one of the largest biotech companies in the US, and the first to start trials using embryonic derived stem cells in human patients was dumping its embryonic stem cell research program altogether, it’s tempting to think that the stem cell debate is, in fact, over.
But I’m afraid we may have gotten a little too ahead of ourselves here.
In the latest episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and I discuss why the stem cell debate is far from over.
The explosive Center for Medical Progress videos have exposed the market in aborted baby tissue/body parts to the general public and put heavy pressure on State and Federal politicians to defund and investigate PP for their role as a fetal tissue supplier.
But let’s not stop there!
We need to stop using tissue from abortion in research. The longer this remains a common, legal practice, the more the scientific community drives the demand for aborted fetal body parts — and what happens when the demand outweighs the supply?
In one video, Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress, already admitted that they were working with “almost like triple digit number clinics (not all PP) and we still need more.”
We should be treating this much like we treated the embryonic stem cell debate 10 years ago — putting pressure on 1. lawmakers to defund and outlaw this research and 2. scientists to pursue ethical alternatives. If we do not, we risk ending up with a medical system that is inextricably linked to the abortion industry.
Today the Catholic Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of Sorrows. Today also happens to be my birthday, so this feast has always kind of been a bit of a personal one for me.
Our Lady was so intimately linked with the redemptive work of her Son that she shared in His sufferings here on earth (Lk. 2:35) while standing by Him on the cross (Jn. 19:25). Besides our Lord, Mary is the greatest example of perseverance in suffering and is a constant source of strength and inspiration for me in my own sufferings.
This feast of our sorrowful Mother, who is also now the Queen of Heaven, is a great source of hope as well — a reminder of the reward of those who suffer for the sake of Christ:
If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. -2 Timothy 2:11-12
Finally, Our Sorrowful Mother teaches us that it’s okay to be sad and mourn the loss of loved ones that are dear to us. Sorrow is not a lack of faith or trust in God. Christ, himself, expressed sorrow many times in the Gospels — even openly wept at the death of his good friend Lazarus (Jn 11:35).
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. -Psalm 34:18
Prayer to Mary, Mother of Sorrows, by St. Bonaventure:
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion, and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object.
Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God. Amen.
Let us celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for from her arose the sun of justice, Christ our God!
Image: ‘The Birth of the Virgin’, fresco by Juan de Borgoña
Typically Church to celebrates a saint’s death day instead of their birthday. The birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an exquisite exception, however, since “her soul was the space from which God was able to gain access into humanity” (Pope Benedict XVI).
O, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
It doesn’t get much more beautiful than this. From St. Augustine, whose feast is today:
Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong — I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.
When at last I cling to you with my whole being there will be no more anguish or labour for me, and my life will be alive indeed, alive because filled with you. But now it is very different. Anyone whom you fill you also uplift; but I am not full of you, and so I am a burden to myself. Joys over which I ought to weep do battle with sorrows that should be matter for joy, and I do not know which will be victorious. But I also see griefs that are evil at war in me with joys that are good, and I do not know which will win the day. This is agony, Lord, have pity on me! It is agony! See, I do not hide my wounds; you are the physician and I am sick; you are merciful, I in need of mercy.
Is not human life on earth a time of testing? Who would choose troubles and hardships? You command us to endure them, but not to love them. No-one loves what he has to endure, even if he loves the endurance, for although he may rejoice in his power to endure, he would prefer to have nothing that demands endurance. In adverse circumstances I long for prosperity, and in times of prosperity I dread adversity. What middle ground is there, between these two, where human life might be free from trial? Woe betide worldly prosperity, and woe again, from fear of disaster and evanescent joy! But woe, woe, and woe again upon worldly adversity, from envy of better fortune, the hardship of adversity itself, and the fear that endurance may falter. Is not human life on earth a time of testing without respite?
On your exceedingly great mercy, and on that alone, rests all my hope.
Is not human life on earth a time of testing? Yes, it is, which is why refusing to suffer is refusing to live: “In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:6-7
In this episode of BioTalk, I spoke with chemistry and physics instructor, Dr. Stacy Trasancos. Always a pleasure connecting with someone I’ve only known virtually through email and Facebook.
Stacy reminds us that it really doesn’t take any undercover investigating to find proof that abortion providers have been supplying scientists with aborted fetal body parts — sometimes even whole, intact, live fetuses — for research, much of which, like Planned Parenthood, receives funding from the Federal Government.
One doesn’t have to just take the Center for Medical Progress’ word for it. This information is and has been widely available in scientific literature dating back decades. Trasancos gives a few specific examples:
Also available on Soundcloud, if you’re into that sort of thing:
“These (Planned Parenthood videos) are but strokes on a broader canvas,” Stacy notes. For decades the use of fetal material has been a research tactic that is 1) considered ethical and legal, 2) coordinated across continents if necessary, 3) funded by governments and private foundations, 4) demanded by industry, and 5) applauded by the scientific community.
“Planned Parenthood,” Trasancos has written, “could shut down completely tomorrow, but the use of aborted fetuses and fetal body parts will not stop.”
Public outcry is key. So far the CMP videos have done a good job of rousing some outrage over the suppliers of fetal body parts. That’s why I’m glad the latest video shows the buyer’s perspective and just how widespread this problem is.
“We’re working with almost like triple digit number clinics (not all PP) and we still need more,” said Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress. Which brings up a concern Rebecca and I will discuss in the next episode: as the scientific community continues to drive the demand for aborted fetal body parts — what happens when the demand outweighs the supply?
God help us.
#DefundPP, YES! But also #defundabortedfetaltissueresearch! Or better yet #outlawabortedfetaltissueresearch!
For more information see Stacy’s articles:
The Trail of Fetal Body Parts in Scientific Papers
Experiments on Intact Whole Live Fetuses and the Connection to Infant Formula
Ganogen’s Aborted Human Fetal Kidneys and Hearts Living in Rats and Some Ethical Questions
More than 2,000 people gathered in Sydney’s Town Hall last Thursday to witness a debate about legalizing euthanasia between the eerily influential “bioethicist” (using the term very lightly) Peter Singer and the Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney.
The debate was organized by University of Sydney’s Catholic Society.
I know things have been mighty quiet here the past couple of weeks. But I’m finally breaking my silence with audio from my early morning interview on the Mike Allen Show yesterday.
I chatted with Mike about why, what many have been calling a “Planned Parenthood controversy”, is actually much more than that.
What’s worse: the fact that Planned Parenthood may be violating the law to further profit from its destruction of innocent human lives, or that there is a market for tiny baby parts in the first place — which has been going on for decades?
One thing at a time, I guess, but let’s be careful not to overlook or lose sight of the big picture here. This goes far beyond Planned Parenthood. On a larger scale, it is actually a “controversy” of scientific/medical ethics. Tissue from elective abortions should not be being used in scientific research in the first place.
This week the Center for Bioethics and Culture, producers of and the award-winning Eggsploitation (2010, 2013) Anonymous Father’s Day (2011), and Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, announced the release of their new documentary short, Eggsploitation: Maggie’s Story. Maggie’s Story explores one woman’s journey through egg donation — and its consequences.
Maggie was told how special she was, but was never informed of the risks egg donation posed to her own health and wellbeing. She was used repeatedly for others’ gain, but when things turned bad, she was left on her own to navigate tests, treatments, surgeries, and an unknown prognosis. Maggie’s harrowing story shows how the medical professionals she trusted ignored abnormal health signals along the way, all for their own financial profit. Sadly, Maggie joins the ranks of other young women harmed and hurt by egg “donation,” and left forgotten.
Stories like Maggie’s are what make pro-lifers and pro-choice feminists strange bedfellows against the exploitative and grossly unregulated fertility industry.
Maggie’s Story is available world-wide on demand on Vimeo.
See also: Raising Daughters in the Brave New World
This morning I was on the Mike Allen Show to talk about: Bristol Palin and the tricky pro-life tightrope, the bio-ethical implications of Justice Kennedy’s marriage opinion (in other words: “marriage equality” leads to “family equality” and more and more third party reproduction — #adultswin #childrenlose), and, finally, why “transability” isn’t as crazy as it used to be. Click the play buttons below to listen!
No, this is not a joke or an onion parody. There is actually a man in Russia who has volunteered to receive the world’s first human head transplant (or body transplant, depending on how you look at it).
Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from a rare form of spinal muscular dystrophy called Werdnig-Hoffman disease, recently met with Italian Dr. Sergio Canavero who has agreed to perform the 36-hour operation. The procedure will also require Spiridonov to be put in a medically induced coma for 3-4 weeks.
Spiridonov and Canavero were recently in the United States — where Canavero has said he wants to do the surgery — presenting their case to the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS).
In the latest episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and I talk about the ethical considerations of this and and other extremely invasive medical procedures, our tendency to treat mental diseases as physical diseases, recent comments from the Vatican on plastic surgery and how it relates to transhumanism and the importance of “bodily integrity.”
Or audio only:
Movie suggestion: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (with MST3K commentary, natch).