Stem Sells

Relative to life in its earliest expressions, when asked by Rick Warren on national TV when a baby is entitled to human rights, then candidate Barack Obama said the question was “above my paygrade.”  Responding to the exact same query, John McCain replied, “At the moment of conception.”

Scientifically speaking, human embryos contain all the genetic substance necessary for development through every stage of life that follows.  Parents facing difficulty having children are acutely aware of the crucial moment of conception, for it is from this very moment that the only things required for successful continuance on the continuum of life are:  nourishment and proper environment.  Human embryos are thus implanted, and if any one is not rejected, then in a little more than 9 months, you have a wriggling, gurgling, cuddly, cute little baby.

Those embryos not used for this purpose are kept in storage, and are now one of the main focus points for stem-cell research.

Now, a human embryo is about the size of the period ending this sentence.

In other words, YOU were once the size of the period at the end of this sentence.  YOU.  Period.

Perhaps at that point, you are now of the curious opinion that you were not worth very much.  Certainly from a size standpoint alone, you were not very big.

Still, it cannot be denied that even at that tiny stage, you were incredibly, profoundly and uniquely significant.  For it is directly and irrefutably connected to this most primitive moment that, in time, we wind up with common people and powerful presidents alike.  Everyone who has ever lived began their journey at this very moment.  With sperm or eggs alone, you cannot realize a human being.  Yet, from the instant these two elements are completely bound together, an almost indescribably wonderful process fully begins.

The inarguably special essence that emerges from this union can be frozen, or even discarded, but it can never be duplicated or replaced.  Never.

Scientifically, let alone religiously, when it comes to humanity, essence precedes function, and if, at the moment of conception, we do not have a human being, then we never will at any subsequent stage.  Never.  Period.

That’s biology, not theology.

It’s not about what we can do, that determines our identity, it’s about what we are.  People are not human because they can reason, they can reason because they are human.

So now, in the supposed cause of science, human embryos can be harvested and thus destroyed for their stem-cells.  But if, scientifically, human embryos are in fact human life, one wonders if theologically, or ethically, their systematic elimination should be federally sanctioned and fiscally supported.  

The benefits are clear.  But do they outweight the costs?  Scientifically, why stop at using embryos?  The truth is, all manner of useful things could be taken from individuals at all phases of early development.  We seem clear on why this is unethical after birth, but now we have opened the door for procedures occuring at times well before an infant’s arrival in the local delivery room.

After all, if conception isn’t morally critical, why would the essence of a human being at 4 weeks, or 10 weeks, or 12 weeks gestation be?

For instance, if a pregnancy can legally be terminated, at will, up to 16 weeks and beyond (it can), by lifting the stem-cell ban, aren’t we now opening the door for experimental practices involving infants in the womb as well?  Some might instantly say, “Of course not!” 

Oh really?  Why not? 

If the unborn can be fully terminated by personal choice, what will stop the movement toward eminent exploitation, perhaps for a good purpose, but also for simple profit? 

By not drawing a clear line condoning off the moment of human conception, we have actually made very gray the subsequent demarcations and turned a path of increasing development into a slippery slope of what is deemed scientifically practical and, let’s be honest, politically expedient.

Isn’t it interesting that, in point of fact, strong proponents of stem-cell research have indeed determined that life at conception is critical for their work.

Absolutely critical for experimentation, but apparently not very critical for protection.

Interesting, and, I think, very revealing.

While I am sure he is a good man, with high ideals, I am afraid I have to agree with our new President concerning the question of human rights for human babies. 

It is above his paygrade. 

Unfortunately, reversing a prior policy on this issue was not beneath a signature stroke of his pen.

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