Audio: Suicide Confusion and Chimera Research Funding

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Last week I was on the Mike Allen Show to discuss our cultural confusion about suicide and the troubling trend toward chimeras.

Suicide Confusion

September was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Last September was also a big month for assisted suicide advocates. Among the headlines last month:

  • The first minor was euthanized in Belgium since Parliament lifted all age restrictions in 2014.
  • Fourteen-year-old Jerika Bolen died after ceasing medical treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. While not technically an assisted suicide, she has been cheered on and held up in the media as the latest poster child (literally) for the “right to die” movement.

On top of that, I just became aware of the fact that the American Medical Association has decided to reconsider changing its traditional opposition to assisted suicide to neutrality. I don’t know how I missed that, but should they do so, it could be devastating to the efforts in the legislature to block dangerous legalization.

Once again, we can’t have it both ways: suicide prevention for some, facilitation for others. In fact, a recent study has found a statistically significant suicide increase in states that have legalized assisted suicide.

Chimera Concern

As I mentioned previously, the NIH recently announced that it will probably lift a ban on funding for animal-human chimeras.

Not all introduction of human cells into animals is ethically problematic. For example, growing human cancer tumors in mice to study disease processes and evaluate treatment strategies.

What the NIH is proposing funding, however, is putting human pluripotent cells into very early animal embryos. The problem is that they don’t know where those cells are going to go. And the worst case scenario here would be that the human cells could end up forming human gametes (eggs or sperm) or brain cells within the animal’s body.

I’m pleased to see that the USCCB weighed in during the NIH’s brief public comment period. The full text of the comment letter is available here.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute also commented. And a good article from my friend, and CLI VP, Dr. David Prentice: Modern Chimeras: Down on the Organ Farm, or Marooned on the Island of Dr. Moreau?

As I mentioned to Mike, the important thing to keep in mind here s that currently this research is perfectly legal and being done here in the United States — including gestation of these chimeras on research farms.

If the NIH isn’t going to do anything to actually put a stop to the research, the very least they could do is not make it even easier by giving them Federal funds.

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