US Supreme Court Refuses Appeal on behalf of Human Embryonic Persons: Human Experimentation Continues
"Bioethics") One of these "ethicists", Michael Tooley denies the child in the womb should have any rights at all. His rationale evolved over time. In each version, as scientific research cast serious doubt on his claims, he conveniently shifted his ground to reach the same conclusion.
Yet, human embryology and developmental biology affirm that a human embryo is not distinct in kind from a human being, but a human being at an early stage of development. Even prior to implantation, a human embryo is a unique living human being with the genetic constitution and epigenetic primordial that continues to develop throughout his or her life. However, the right not to be killed in the womb, the right to be born and the right to participate in human relationships are rejected for these little persons. Human embryonic lives are reduced to what one astute Catholic philosopher and lawyer, Robert George, called a "pre-personal way of being human".
The idea that human beings can be less than persons is increasingly applied to other stages of human development outside of the womb. The disabled (physically and mentally), the aged and the infirmed are increasingly denied the equal protection of the law. There is an emphasis on individual rights over relation and on autonomy over solidarity. Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote in "The Gospel of Life" of this "remarkable contradiction". He explained "the roots of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them."(Par. 19)
This counterfeit idea of freedom also views comatose human beings as no longer worthy of being called "persons". Their caregivers are encouraged to stop giving them food and water. Seriously ill children are viewed as interlopers who should not continue to use medical and social resources. Whether the criteria for being recognized as a human person is a satisfactory level of brain function, an agreed upon notion of self awareness, non-dependency, individual autonomy, or some similar "acceptable" level of physical or mental capacity, this reduces the human being to a human doing, valuable not simply because they are members of our human family and gifts to be received but valued based upon their functionality.
There can be NO debate about this fact; we were all once human embryos. We all lived in the first home of the whole human race, our mother's womb. For the Christian, we profess that the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, was a human being, who, in the embryonic stage, lived in his mother's womb. At every age and stage of our "human-being- ness", be it as an embryonic person, in the womb, as an infant, as a child, an adolescent, an adult, in our times of illness, in our old age, we have always been dependent on others and vulnerable. This is what it means to be a human being. The emphasis of the proponents of the culture of death on independence and autonomy informs a worldview that Pope John Paul II taught threatens the "entire structure of human rights." (Gospel of Life, Par. 19)
In a homily at the 2010 Vigil for Nascent Human Life Pope Benedict called the faithful to defend all human life, including embryonic human life. The Pope noted that "there are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being."
He cautioned against the growing "darkening of consciences" and proclaimed with clarity and conviction to the whole world that the child in the first home of the whole human race, his or her mother's womb, "has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests. The human person is a good in and of himself and his integral development should always be sought." We must speak for human embryonic Life as we speak for all human life. We must expose and oppose this new form of genetic slavery wherein an entire class of human persons is being labeled as property to be used by those who are more powerful. We must insist on the recognition of human rights for all human persons, no matter what stage of life's development continuum.
When we are successful in restoring the Right to Life to all human persons, including embryonic human persons, many Doctors who stood against the destruction of life in the name of science will be honored. Among them are two scientists, Doctors James J Sherley and Theresa Deisher. Several years ago they filed a lawsuit seeking to enjoin the always deadly research on human embryonic persons. A lower Federal Court Judge enjoined the implementation of the Obama Administration guidelines of 2009 which allowed researchers to extract stem cells from "surplus" embryos donated by patients at fertility clinics. Every such extraction kills a human embryonic person. The injunction stunned the Obama administration and they appealed it.
In a September 2, 2010 Wall Street Journal article by Laura Meckler and Janet Adamy entitled "Stem-Cell Plaintiffs Cite Ethical Motivation: Scientists Behind Suit Say Work Using Material Derived From Embryos Is Morally Objectionable, Unlikely to Yield Cures" the two Doctors confirmed that they filed the lower Court case out of a concern for the ethical issues involved in killing human embryos. Dr. Sherley said "We have a responsibility and are taught to do ethical research. This is impacting the quality of science in this country."
Both Doctors "said embryonic stem-cell research is morally objectionable and unlikely to produce promised treatments or cures. They said research using adult stem cells, the field each of them works in, has more potential to help patients." Regarding embryonic stem cell research Dr. Sherley said the public has "been sold this hype and this promise that embryonic stem cells are going to cure everyone and we're all going to get up and dance. Any adult stem cell scientist is disadvantaged, and that's because there is a deliberate focus to fund embryonic stem cell research and a focus away from adult stem cell research."
The lower Federal Court found that the guidelines issued by the Obama Administration violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment which provides that no Federal funds shall be used for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed on fetuses in utero" under Federal Law. In the lower Courts words, "having concluded that the Dickey-Wicker Amendment is unambiguous, the question before the Court is whether ESC (Embryonic Stem Cell Research) is research in which a human embryo is destroyed. The Court concludes that it is."
In another section of the opinion the judge made it even clearer: "The Dickey-Wicker Amendment unambiguously prohibits the use of federal funds for all research in which a human embryo is destroyed. Thus, if ESC research is research in which an embryo is destroyed, the Guidelines, by funding ESC research, violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. ESC research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed. To conduct ESC research, ESCs must be derived from an embryo. The process of deriving ESCs from an embryo results in the destruction of the embryo. Thus, ESC research necessarily depends upon the destruction of a human embryo."
The Obama Administration appealed. The Appeals Court lifted the injunction and the deadly experimentation began again. Judges decided that scientists can kill embryonic human persons for "spare parts" funded by federal tax dollars. Remember, there is an alternative which kills no-one, adult stem cell research. It has been effectively utilized with amazing results. These courageous scientists and genuine humanitarians did not stop fighting for the fundamental Right to life.
Doctors James J Sherley and Theresa Deisher, Nightlife Christian Adoption, Embryos, Shayne and Tina Nelson, William and Patricia Flynn and the Christian Medical Association took their appeal to the highest Court in the United States of America, the U.S. Supreme Court. They filed a petition for a Writ of certiorari On Monday, January 7, 2013 the Supreme Court denied their appeal. This legal case is over. However, the struggle waged by these brave scientists will continue.
The stem cell discussion in the Media is intentionally laden with misinformation and emotional appeals which cloud the facts. Human embryonic stem cell research has had no positive results. It is always deadly for the human embryonic person. To the contrary, adult stem cell research harms no-one and has borne great results. A human embryo is not distinct in kind from a human being, but a human being at an early stage of development. Yet, the United States Supreme Court has refused to hear the Appeal filed on behalf of Human Embryonic Persons. A New Age of Human Experimentation Begins.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: stem cells, adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells, Pro-Life, Dignity of the Human Person, bio-ethics, Deacon Keith Fournier
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