Every human life has value.

I finally finished the op-ed I was asked to write a few months ago and submitted it to a few papers around the state. We’ll see if any of them pick it up. Here’s a little excerpt:

This amendment is nothing more than an attack on human life at its greatest frailty, when it is unable to defend itself. When we oppose life at its most vulnerable stage we wage a war of the powerful against the weak. Human beings in the embryonic stage are not lab rats. They are humans made in God’s image. When we fail to acknowledge the beauty and dignity of the human person from its very beginning and turn humanity into a science experiment, then we diminish what it is to be human. Science tells us what we can do, not what we should do.

Click here for the full text:

I am a 24 year old Missourian who is also a paraplegic. I received a spinal cord injury in a car accident almost seven years ago when I was just a junior in high school that left me paralyzed from the chest down. I have a beautiful, blessed life, but not a day goes by that I don’t face some new challenge or limitation – whether it’s needing something out of my reach, problems with bowel or bladder management, or being unable to reach my destination due to inaccessibility.

Because of my unique situation I have found myself at the forefront of the stem cell debate as someone who could theoretically benefit from such research. After looking into this subject in great detail over the last couple of years I wholeheartedly reject Amendment 2 and urge my fellow Missourians to do the same. This amendment is a farce and an insult to the intelligence of the Missouri voter. Relying on the public’s ignorance of science and exploiting our genuine sympathy for the suffering of others, one wealthy institution is attempting to buy a constitutional amendment that will have profound ramifications for years to come.

I make it a policy not to side with people who lie to me. Proponents of Amendment 2 claim that it is a ban on human cloning. This is blatantly false. It will actually protect as a constitutional right the cloning and destruction of human embryos for scientific research. The process by which a human is cloned is called somatic cell nuclear transfer, this is a scientific fact recognized by the National Academies of Science, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Society for Stem Cell Research, and the American Medical Association. In 2002 the President’s Council on Bioethics concluded that the product of SCNT, “is not only an embryo, it is also a clone, genetically virtually identical to the individual that was the source of the transferred nucleus, hence an embryonic clone of the donor.” Amendment 2 calls for the constitutional protection of “any stem cell research permitted under federal law.” This includes research on embryonic stem cells derived from “cell reprogramming techniques such as somatic cell nuclear transfer.” This language is taken directly from the amendment itself.

So how do they get away with claiming to ban human cloning? Easy, they have redefined the term to fit their own agenda. While the amendment does profess that no person may “clone or attempt to clone a human being,” under the new definition “to clone” means to “implant in the uterus” the product of SCNT – a human embryo. This is a lie. Cloning has nothing to do with implantation.

This amendment is nothing more than an attack on human life at its greatest frailty, when it is unable to defend itself. When we oppose life at its most vulnerable stage we wage a war of the powerful against the weak. Human beings in the embryonic stage are not lab rats. They are humans made in God’s image. When we fail to acknowledge the beauty and dignity of the human person from its very beginning and turn humanity into a science experiment, then we diminish what it is to be human. Science tells us what we can do, not what we should do.

I would love to be able to walk again. And my greatest hope is relief for those who are suffering. But, I could never accept the harvesting of another human life, no matter how small, for my own comfort. As Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
For more information please visit www.reflectionsofaparalytic.com

September 23rd, 2006 at 7:05 pm
One Response to “So…”
  1. 1
    Rita Blanke Says:

    You and John O’Leary and Clare Genovese are my heros.
    God Bless You!
    Thanks for all you do for LIFE.

    Hugs to you and your dog. :)