California Passes Bill Against DIY Gene Hacking

Recently the California General Assembly passed a law against so-called “do-it-yourself” gene hacking.

Modern technology makes it possible to edit the human genome. While it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, we’ve seen headlines recently about scientists in China who have edited human genes and tried to create human/animal hybrids.

Gene-editing technologies like CRISPR have hit the open market, but California, of all states, seems to want to do something about it.

John Stonestreet at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview writes,

The [California] Assembly passed, and Governor Newsom signed, a bill that prohibits the sale of do-it-yourself genetic engineering kits—unless the kit has a label warning that it is “not for self-administration.”

Hey, it’s a start. As noted at Vox, Silicon Valley is home to the biohacking movement, which, in essence, attempts to extend life through technology. But tinkering with the human genome poses enormous risks not only to those who self-edit their genes, but to the public at large.

One Oakland biohacker has been selling such kits, so it’s entirely appropriate that California has now passed the “first-ever legislation addressing emerging CRISPR technology, [which] will help prevent safety mishaps by amateur users of CRISPR kits.”

CRISPR is the same gene-editing technology that scientists have used to clone and kill human embryos for research.

As we have said many times, human beings are not research material, but gene-hacking technologies like CRISPR treat them that way.

All scientific research must respect the sanctity of human life.

Scientists Monkeying With Human/Animal Hybrid Research

American scientists — this time working in China — reportedly are once again experimenting with human/animal hybrids.

John Stonestreet with the Colson Center for Christian Worldview writes,

Free from those pesky regulations that protect human rights and ensure ethical research practice, the scientists injected human stem cells into monkey embryos. Their hope, they say, is to grow organs like kidneys and livers made up entirely of human cells, which could be used for transplants. Ah yes, that whole “trust us, we’re helping you” trope.

As one California scientist told the MIT Technology Review, the experiments make no sense. Such organs would be “too small” and take “too long to develop.” Perhaps, he continued, “the researchers have more basic scientific questions in mind,” such as addressing questions of “interspecies barriers.”

While stories about this kind of bizarre research sound like the stuff of science fiction and fake news, they actually are well documented and have been going on for years.

During the Obama Administration, the National Institutes for Health announced plans to scrap a policy that prevented funding from going to research that hybridized human beings and animals.

At the time, some scientists in the U.S. were injecting pig embryos with human stem cells, and the NIH was interested in supporting that type of research.

Needless to say, pro-life groups raised a number of ethical concerns about the NIH’s proposed rule change.

You would think it would be obvious to the scientific community that the earth doesn’t need half-human, half-animal creatures. Apparently that is not the case.

Buying a Baby

Our friends at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview recently released a pointed commentary underscoring the issue of people buying and selling of children through commercial surrogacy.

John Stonestreet writes,

According to a recent ABC headline, “2020 [presidential] hopeful Pete Buttigieg says he and his husband are planning to have a child soon.” But that’s simply a misleading choice of words.

A more accurate way to put it would be how our sharp-tongued BreakPoint writer Shane Morris did on Facebook: “2020 hopeful Pete Buttigieg planning to buy an egg and hire a woman to serve as an incubator so he and partner can go on playing house together and turn another human being into their prop. There,” Shane said, “I fixed your headline.”

I wouldn’t have said it quite that way, but Shane has a point. Same-sex couples don’t have children together. They’ve chosen an intentionally sterile relationship, but then borrow from God’s design to bring children into existence before denying them a mother or a father.

When Stonestreet and Morris refer to people buying human eggs and hiring women to carry children, they’re talking about commercial surrogacy, where companies and wealthy couples pay women thousands of dollars for their eggs or to have children for them.

Family Council opposes commercial surrogacy, in part, because we believe it amounts to buying and selling babies. Commercial surrogacy and egg harvesting also carry a number of health risks for women.

Arkansas law currently lets companies harvest women’s eggs for profit. That’s why we supported H.B. 1761 by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) this year. This good bill would have regulated the buying and selling of human eggs. It would have prohibited companies from paying women for their eggs, but it contained exceptions for free egg donations and for fertility treatments.

The bill passed in the Arkansas House, but unfortunately failed to make it through the senate before the session adjourned.

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash