Every human life has value.

As the FDA considers allowing genetically engineered children, I’m reminded of this meme I came across several months ago illustrating the split personality that many progressives have about genetically modified organisms.

GM-garafalo.jpg

See: Genetic Modification: Bad for Cows and Corn, but Okay for Humans?

February 27th, 2014 at 7:11 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

genetic-engineering.pngThis week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) met to discuss allowing the creation of human beings with three genetic parents to proceed to clinical trials. That is, whether to allow human “three-parent embryos” to be implanted and possibly grow to term.

There are currently two different techniques for manufacturing three-parent embryos, the purpose of which is to combat mitochondrial disease. The first, being developed at Britain’s Newcastle University, is known as pronuclear transfer (PNT) and swaps DNA between two fertilized human eggs, intentionally destroying multiple embryos in the process.

The second, which has been done by scientists in Oregon and New York and is likely what the FDA is looking at, is called maternal spindle transfer. This technique swaps material between the mother’s egg and a donor egg before fertilization.

This is not just another reproductive technology. This kind of gene therapy is genetic modification that will be inherited. So, what the FDA is really considering is whether or not to proceed with genetically engineering future generations without their consent.

On top of the fact that, like traditional IVF, the creation of new human life in this way (out of the marital embrace and in the science lab) is immoral in and of itself, there is also no telling what kind of effect this will have on the children it produces.

The science is still very new. Three parent fertility as a concept was only thought of about 14 years ago. And both of the techniques described above were only first successfully used to create human embryos less than five years ago.

Animals created through these methods have had significant health issues, and in Oregon, genetic abnormalities were detected in half of the human embryos created with manipulated eggs. So, there is a good possibility that we may simply be trading mitochondrial disease for other abnormalities, if babies are ever born using either of these techniques.

And that’s a big if.

In Newcastle’s initial report, most of the embryos were so mangled in the reprogramming process itself that they couldn’t even start dividing. In order to get better results with this technology in humans, more research must be done, which means more and more tiny human lives lost and destroyed.

The concerns don’t end there. The massive amounts of “donated” human eggs that will be needed to manufacture children in this way are worth considering. As are legal issues such as  who would be the legal parents of a child generated from genetic material obtained from multiple donors and would such a child have the right to know the identity of all his gene donors?

The FDA’s chief concern, of course, is safety and some members of their advisory committee seemed to agree that there was not sufficient evidence in animal models to suggest that it was safe to proceed in humans.

“There’s overall great concern for the well-being of these kids,” Evan Y. Snyder, the panel’s chairman, said at the meeting, summarizing some of the thoughts of the members. “I think there was a sense of the committee that at this particular point in time, there was probably not enough data either in animals or in vitro to conclusively move on to human trials … without answering a few additional questions.”

Preventing mitochondrial disease is a good and noble goal, but this is not the way to go about doing it. Allowing germ-line modification for mitochondrial replacement to proceed sets a dangerous precedent and may only be the beginning.

We are on a threshold. Will we move forward in genetically-engineering our children? This move, it is fair to say, will forever change the course of humanity.

More than 40 other countries have passed laws or signed treaties banning human genetic modifications that can be inherited. Let’s hope, in this case, at least, that the United States will not live up to her reputation of being  the “Wild West” of reproductive medicine. 

This radical experimentation on children must be stopped before it gets any worse.

February 25th, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

Danielle-Sheypuk.jpgAt this year’s NYC Fashion Week, Carrie Hammer made headlines by breaking ranks with her fellow designers and casting “real women” as her models instead of the 5’10″ bean-pole professional models you typically see strutting their stuff on the catwalk.

One model in particular got everyone’s attention. Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, a Brooklyn-based clinical psychologist and 2012′s Miss Wheelchair New York, became the first disabled model on the Fashion Week runway.

“I was invited by the designer Carrie Hammer to be in her first runway show, and she used role models as the models on the runway, so they were influential females in the community.” Dr. Sheypuk told FOX411. “I have my Ph.D. in clinical psychology so I’m a psychologist that works with adults, and my daytime job is at a clinic, and I work with individuals with chronic and persistent mental illness.”

“Everyone wants to be stylish, and people with disabilities have been completely ignored by the fashion industry; in the magazines, on the runway, and it doesn’t even make sense because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you don’t care about the way you look or the clothes you wear,” she said.

She wants to change the image that people have of people with disabilities, which “includes things like, if you have a physical disability you’re not sexy, you’re not glamorous, you’re not stylish.”

“I mean, it’s 2014 and this community we’re educated, we’re professionals, we’re married. We have children. We’re single. We’re dating. We’ve been integrated in a lot of areas except this one area, so I hope to really change that image.”

When asked by Elle magazine if she thinks that using models with disabilities will become a “trend” in the industry, Carrie Hammer responded, “I hope it doesn’t become a “trend” as trends come and go. I hope casting powerful women, disability or no disability, becomes a mainstay in the fashion industry.”

Related:
Disabled People are “Sexy,” Too!

February 24th, 2014 at 6:15 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Wacoal, a Thai lingerie company, has come up with a revolutionary advertising campaign for its products…without showing any skin at all! In fact, the ads have very little to do with women’s physical appearance. They are instead about the true beauty at the heart of every women — namely, her capacity to love and put the needs of others before her own.

All of these are so very well done. Superbly acted and quite moving. I hope you will check them out.

I was so pleased to come across these videos recently. Thailand is such a mess — politically, socially — (and could use our prayers!) but golly they do know how to tell a short, beautiful story!

This isn’t the first time I was moved by an ad from Thailand. If this ad for their True Move mobile phone service doesn’t bring you to tears, nothing will.

February 20th, 2014 at 11:56 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The “#WhatWomenNeed…for Valentine’s Day” hashtag was kicked off by House Democrats last week. This Monday, Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards got in on the fun by posting a vine video of herself holding up a series of #WhatWomenNeed cue cards that said, among other things, “birth control” and “safe + legal abortions.”

Pro-lifers responded with their own #WhatWomenNeed Valentine’s Day pro-life tweet-fest, holding up their own cue-cards and tweeting things like:

#WhatWomenNeed comprehensive health care that respects our natural fertility and our dignity as women. @CecileRichards @PPact

#WhatWomenNeed a healthcare provider that doesn’t cover up abuse of victims of sex trafficking. @CecileRichards @PPact

#WhatWomenNeed Fertility care for those planning to be parents, which @PPact doesn’t provide. @CecileRichards

#WhatWomenNeed Prenatal care and diagnostic ultrasounds when planning parenthood, which @PPact doesn’t provide. @CecileRichards

This was my contribution:
wwn.jpg

#WhatWomenNeed: To be loved and respected as human beings, not used and exploited as sex objects, human incubators or hardware stores for spare baby-making parts.

Because, come on, guys! Abortion isn’t the only pro-life battle before us!

Read more: Porn Not the Only Industry Commodifying Women

February 14th, 2014 at 10:34 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Admittedly, I have not watched a lot of this year’s Winter Olympics. I’m more of a summer games kinda gal, myself. But an image image from the games this week captured my attention, as did the story behind it.

On Monday Alex Bilodeau won gold in the freestyle skiing moguls competition — and he shared much of the spotlight with his brother Frederic:

AlexBilodeau.png

NBC did a great feature on the Canadian skier in which he revealed that his older brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy, is his greatest inspiration:

“The motivation that he has, if he had had the chances like I did, he would have been four times Olympic champion. He’s a great inspiration, a great person and he’s going to be an inspiration for me after my career also,” the 26-year-old said.

“Every little thing in life is hard for him, whether it’s going from his seat to go and see me here, walking in the snow, it takes so much energy, it’s very hard.

“I always complain, and he has every reason in the world to complain and he never does. And why is that? He enjoys life, he takes the best out of it.”

Watch the video.

Frederic.pngAlex isn’t the only successful brother. Frederic is an artist. And he sells his paintings to benefit the Quebec Cerebral Palsy Association.

I always find stories like this to be a stark reminder of the great tragedy of abortions for genetic abnormalities like cerebral palsy. Supporters of the practice want people to believe that these abortions eliminate disease. Hardly.

These abortions, like all abortions, eliminate people. Joyful people. Talented people. People who inspire and bring utter joy to the people around them.

February 13th, 2014 at 1:17 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Since they introduced euthanasia for those aged 18 and older in 2002, Belgium has seen a nearly 500% increase in deaths by euthanasia. Now, Belgium’s Parliament is considering extending euthanasia to children 17 years and younger.

The Senate approved a bill last December and Belgium’s lower legislative house will vote on the legislation this Thursday.

A video has been making the rounds online of the family of a four-year-old girl who was born with a severe cardiac malformation, pleading with King Philippe not to sign the bill, which is expected to pass. The family is from Canada where lawmakers are considering legislation to legalize euthanasia.

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Wesley Smith, who is not a fan of the video’s use of children to make their point (and I tend to agree), said it does illustrate three important truths about euthanasia:

First, once euthanasia creates a beachhead, the killing agenda spreads. Permission in one jurisdiction then becomes the excuse to permit it in another.

Second: Once you let the euthanasia vampire in the door for one subset of people, the beast quickly starts feeding on others. For example, Quebec hasn’t legalized euthanasia yet and the Human Rights Commission already has recommended extending the killing to children.

Third: Pediatric euthanasia is the logical extension of euthanasia for adults. Indeed, infanticide has already become a relatively routine part of Netherlander neo natal medical practice. According to The Lancet, 8% of all babies who die in the Netherlands are killed by doctors, even though it remains murder under the law. Indeed, doctors are so confident they won’t be punished for killing sick babies, they published the Groningen Protocol, a bureaucratic check list detailing which babies can be euthanized.

A physician’s job is to heal, not kill. Death is never medicine, no matter how permanent the diagnosis or how much pain the patient is in. We are in for a world of trouble once we start making death an acceptable “treatment” for pain and suffering.

February 11th, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

If you missed it, here is my interview on Real Life Radio last Friday. We discussed why biotechnology (IVF, cloning, etc…) is a “women’s issue.” I come on in the second segment.

eggploitation3.jpgThe already difficult task of raising daughters and protecting them from a society that seems to degrade them at every turn (or convince them that they aren’t beautiful enough, that their bodies aren’t perfect enough) is not getting any easier.

Remember the good old days when we used to only have to worry about a billion dollar sex industry and horny boys taking advantage of our girls and using them for their bodies? Well, now we also have to contend with a fast-growing biotech industry that is dependent on them putting their bodies on the line in order to obtain the “raw materials” needed for their experimentation.

To help parents, the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network has made a list of Five Things Mom’s Should Tell Their Daughters About Their Eggs:

1. You are born with all the eggs you will ever have.

    We’re not like the guys, who make new fresh sperm all the time.

    The eggs you enter this world with on day one are all you get – so use them wisely.

    Learn more

2. Every month you normally ovulate one egg…but about 1000 eggs are needed to get that one egg hatched.

    Think of those 1,000 eggs as cheerleaders.

3. You have no idea where donated eggs will end up.

    Since eggs aren’t tracked in the U.S. (unlike just about anything else that leaves the human body, which gets barcoded, labeled, tracked and monitored and lives forever in some NAS spy secret zone) you really have no idea where your eggs will land.

    Learn more

4. There really is a biological clock.

    And it’s ticking. So again, if you want to make babies, use your eggs wisely and on time. And don’t fall for those egg freezing schemes.

    Learn more

5. As a result:

    Helping someone else have a baby with YOUR eggs…

    …really means helping someone else have YOUR baby.

Third-party reproduction operations and scientific researchers make a lot of money on words like “gift” and “hope” and “miracle,” often ignoring real medical and moral concerns to women. Do your daughters a favor. Teach them about biotechnology. Help them understand how valuable their bodies are so that hopefully they will not fall victim to exploitation in today’s Brave New World.

Learn more:
Eggsploitation
Breeders

February 4th, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

bar-code-belly.pngThis afternoon I’ll be live on Catholic radio in Lexington, KY to talk about why biotechnology is a women’s issue. Pay attention, ladies! Porn isn’t the only industry commodifying women.

Tune in at 5pm EST: http://www.realliferadio.com/

Every show Mike asks a “question of the day.” Today’s question is: In general, do you think women are more objectified in our culture than they were 50 years ago, less objectified than 50 years ago, or about the same?

What do you think??

January 31st, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

As if third party reproduction hasn’t confused the make-up of the family enough already, we now have grandmothers giving birth to their own grandchildren (and also, in some cases, freezing their OWN eggs for their infertile daughters to use later on in life!).

grandma-mom.jpbThe latest: a 58 year old woman in Utah is currently pregnant with her daughter’s child. Said the 32 year-old Lorena McKinnon,

“The psychologists wanted to make sure we knew what we were getting into — that we were mentally prepared. Mostly, surrogacy contracts are with people you don’t know. It was weird to have a contract with my mom”

Weird doesn’t even begin to describe it. I mentioned this to a friend of mine recently and his initial reaction was, “gross!” Indeed.

Here is another such story out of my old hometown, Jefferson City, MO:

As troubling as this story is in general, it’s these words, specifically, from Dr. Gil Wilshire with Mid-Missouri Reproductive Medicine and Surgery in Columbia, MO that really got under my skin: “We need three things: a good egg, some good sperm and a good uterus. And we can mix and match these.”

Gross. I can’t even. This is the world we live in. The creation of new human life is nothing more than a biological formula — a science experiment, rather than the mysterious fruit of a loving act between husband and wife.

For most pro-life advocates, the main problem with IVF is the fact that so many human embryos are destroyed in the process. In fact, some have actually suggested that IVF would be ethical if we could ensure that it could be done without destroying or discarding any human embryos.

Our natural inclination as pro-lifers is to first be concerned with how life is being taken out of the world. I would submit, however, that we should be equally as concerned with how it’s being brought into the world as well.

There are many different acts through which children can be conceived (the marital embrace, rape, fornication, adultery, incest and various technical procedures) but only one way is in keeping with the dignity of the child. The Catechism explains:

Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.” (CCC, 2376)

Taking the creation of life out of its natural, God-given context and moving it into the science lab seriously alters how many view the wonder and mystery of new life and how that new life should be treated.

The desire for children is right and good, but a child is not something owed to anyone; it is a gift. Consciously or unconsciously, to desire a child as the end result of a technological procedure instead of the fruit of marital love is to treat the child not as a person to love, but a product to obtain.

*photo source*

January 31st, 2014 at 3:00 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink