Committee Passes Bill to Prohibit Public Funding of Research That Kills Unborn Children

Family Council staff member Charisse Dean (left) and Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) present H.B. 1399 in the House Public Health Committee.

This morning the Arkansas House Public Health Committee passed H.B. 1399 by Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood).

This good, pro-life bill strengthens our state’s laws against human cloning. It prohibits public funding of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

In recent years we’ve seen examples of unethical companies using unborn children for scientific research. H.B. 1399 helps address that issue by ensuring taxpayer dollars won’t be used to create and kill unborn children in the name of science or medicine.

This is a good bill that Family Council supports. Unborn children are not lab material, and state tax dollars should not be used for research that treats them as such.

This good bill will go before the Arkansas House of Representatives, where it likely will be voted on sometime next week.

You can leave a message asking your state representative to support H.B. 1399 by calling the Arkansas House of Representatives during normal business hours at (501) 682-6211.

You can read H.B. 1399 here.

Scientists in Oregon Kill Human Embryos For “Research”

This week the MIT Technology Review reported that scientists in Oregon have become the first in the U.S. to edit the DNA of human embryos.

The MIT Technology Review writes,

The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

Until now, American scientists have watched with a combination of awe, envy, and some alarm as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice. To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.

To call this research “controversial” is an understatement. It is unconscionable for two reasons.

First, in order to carry out their research, scientists created human embryos. These human embryos were living human beings–albeit very small, helpless human beings. Researchers in Oregon created these human beings; experimented on them; and then apparently killed them.

Ethically speaking, this is no different from embryonic stem cell research in which human embryos are created and then killed in order to harvest their stem cells for scientific use.

The second reason this research is unconscionable is that it could pave the way for “designer babies” in which embryos are edited to produce certain characteristics. Scientists who support this research say it could one day allow doctors to correct genetic abnormalities in unborn children, but it could also allow parents and doctors to engineer children with certain traits or enhancements.

It’s worth noting this is not the first time these researchers in Oregon have engaged in this type of activity. In 2013 they published research claiming to have cloned and killed human embryos in order to obtain their stem cells.

As we have said many times, human beings are not research material. All scientific research must respect the sanctity of human life. And we should not do anything that might encourage or allow doctors to produce customized “designer children.”

You can read more about the research in question here.

“The NIH Wants Pig Men”

daily_commentary_08_17_16Recently we told you about a news story that sounds like something straight out of a checkout-line tabloid: The National Institute of Health is considering using public funds for research that creates human-animal hybrids or “chimeras.”

Researchers inject human stem cells into modified animal embryos in hopes of discovering new cures or “growing” human organs for transplant patients. You can read about some of the ethical concerns we have raised here.

John Stonestreet at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview published an excellent commentary today highlighting these concerns as well and noting how individuals from H.G. Wells and C.S. Lewis to Chuck Colson have warned us about this type of sketchy science.

Stonestreet writes,

This ends-justify-the-means kind of commodification of human beings is nothing new. Chuck Colson warned way back in 2007, “the system is being rigged to promote more such experimentation, not less. Compared to promises of ‘miracle cures,’ national prestige, and, of course, big money, human dignity counts for very little.”

Of course, promises of such cures may sound like a service to the cause of human dignity, but the “scientific progress at any cost” sort of vision drives our current forays in medicine. It’s what might be called the scientific illusion, the idea that because we can, we should. That all things, human nature included, are proper subjects of scientific mastery, the ultimate source of all of our knowledge.

Before Chuck, C. S. Lewis warned of such folly in his masterful book “The Abolition of Man.” “If man chooses to treat himself as raw material,” Lewis wrote, “raw material he will be, not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite, that is, mere Nature, in the person of his de-humanized Conditioners.”

In other words, the conquering of human nature with our technology, in reality, will end up being the conquering of all of us by some of us.

You can read his full commentary here or listen to it below.

[audio:http://www.breakpoint.org/images/content/breakpoint/audio/2016/081716_BP.mp3|titles=The NIH Wants Pig Men by John Stonestreet]