To Be Human
What does it mean to be human? It is an age-old question. Human life is under assault like never before in our history. Some scientists are advocating destruction of our most vulnerable with “promises” of miraculous cures for the rest of us.
From researchers who use/destroy human embryos in an attempt to find cures for all that ails us, to perhaps one day fetal tissues grown from cells taken from our own body to replace, say your kidneys, “this is the natural consequence of deciding that human life has no dignity,” said Wesley Smith, a Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. Smith is also a consultant to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture.
Ironically, there is a growing sentiment in the country that more dignity should be given to animals than humans when it comes to medical research.
“There are large groups of people in this country who care more about animals than they do people,” said Smith. “They believe we should discard the value of each human life and instead view the animal as having greater value.”
Smith and others believe that science is very close to cloning a human. “I think human cloning is already occurring at the human embryonic stage. The problem they are having is that you need one human egg for every cloning attempt. And there are not human eggs for these experiments. In fact the human egg has become the most valuable human commodity on the planet ounce for ounce.”
Smith said college girls are being offered tens of thousands of dollars if they are “eugenically correct” to sell their eggs. And until there can be a reliable, steady stream of human eggs it will be difficult to perfect human cloning.
“There are some scientists taking cadaver ovaries and trying to mature them into human eggs. There are experiments on aborting female fetuses, which have the most human eggs that they will ever have, and trying to mature those human eggs,” said Smith..
Human cloning has actually been done, but so far it has not been very successful. The question then becomes how do we protect both the doctors and scientists who do not want to practice this kind of gruesome medicine from those with no moral scruples not to?
Further, what if your patient demands to be treated with these new “miracle” therapies?. Already in states like Washington and Oregon, with assisted suicide laws on the books, there are pressures to force medical providers who don’t want to end a person’s life to refer them to another care provider who kills them. And in the Victoria state in Australia there is a new law on the books that requires physicians who will not perform an abortion to refer that woman to a different provider who does perform abortions.
We’ve come a long way from the days when a pagan culture developed the “Hippocratic Oath” over 2,500 years ago. It’s simple “do no harm” included not providing abortions, no assisted suicide and equal medical care for even the slaves of that Greek society. Today, according to Smith, fewer than 15% of physicians take the Hippocratic Oath when they graduate from medical school and even those that do are more concerned about the confidentiality parts of it than “doing no harm to a human life.”
Your Physician is on the Frontlines
The practice of medicine might radically change in the next few years, using our most vulnerable humans to save the rest of us. While medical providers are on the frontlines of the cultural battlefield, we are all responsible for what will happen unless we speak out and get laws on the books to prevent the destruction of human life.
Last October, hundreds of Catholic physicians from all over the U.S. and Canada gathered for the 79th annual Catholic Medical Association conference. The opening session talk, delivered by Dr. Josef Seifert, was entitled “Christian Anthropology, Connecting a Proper Anthropology with Proper Medical Practice.”
Dr. Seifert is the he author of more than 40 books and 300 articles and a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Life. He told the physicians, “the practice of medicine cannot be isolated from the truth….in every truth there is something more than we expected. And that without God, man does not know which way to go.”
He challenged physicians to stand up for the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception until natural death. “Physicians should be concerned about protecting life. Physicians are not just service machines for their patients. They need to respect and give glory to God and recognize that man is not the ‘Lord of Life’ and physicians can not be involved in providing abortion, euthanasia or contraception services to their patients. All these things are against life.”
Unfortunately our society is lining up against medical providers who want to practice the kind of medicine prescribed by Dr. Seifert. In one of the afternoon sessions, Dr. Theresa Deisher, who is the director of research for Ave Maria Biotechnology, said the vast majority of drugs, vaccines and designer-genes are produced using voluntarily aborted babies during their research and development. Over 20 vaccines parents give to their children contain the DNA cell lines from electively aborted babies, with no pro-life alternatives even available in the United States.
Even more horrific, Dr. Deisher said scores of companies license a cell line known as “PerC6” which was derived from an electively aborted baby at 18 weeks and “was pre-chosen and specifically isolated to be modified for vaccine, biologic and gene production.”
The demand for fetal tissues to use for research on biologics and cosmetics is huge. Deisher reported that “In 2009 here in Seattle the University of Washington fulfilled 4,400 requests for fetal tissue and cell lines derived from voluntarily aborted babies. By the way that fetal tissue is more valuable the later the abortion is procured. Doctors may tell patients to delay their abortions because that tiny liver cell is more valuable for researchers at 22 weeks than at 10 weeks.”
Those 4,400 requests for fetal tissue represent just one medical school: the University of Washington in Seattle. There are over 400 medical schools in the United States that have similar research facilities, which, according to Deisher, could mean nearly two million requests for fetal tissue and cell lines from aborted babies each year to be used for medical research.
While Catholic researchers who work in these facilities who devalue human life are certainly culpable in their actions, in a certain sense, we all are blameworthy from physicians to patients alike. “What happens to our souls when we as Catholics, as the Body of Christ, knowingly or unknowingly use materials from electively aborted babies?”
If you answer, “I will never do that,” think again. If you, or your child, have been vaccinated in the last 30 years, there is a nearly 100 percent chance you have had the DNA from an electively aborted baby injected into your or your child’s body. And this injustice continues despite a plea from the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Academy of Life over five years ago.
In a letter from Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life to Mrs. Debra Vinnedge, executive director, Children of God for Life in July, 2005. Bishop Sgreccia says that Catholics have “a grave responsibility to use alternative vaccines and to make a conscientious objection with regard to those which have moral problems. The lawfulness of the use of these vaccines should not be misinterpreted as a declaration of the lawfulness of their production, marketing and use, but is to be understood as being a passive material cooperation (emphasis added) and, in its mildest and remotest sense, also active material cooperation , morally justified as an “extrema ratio” due to the necessity to provide for the good of one’s children and of the people who come in contact with the children — especially pregnant women. Such cooperation occurs in a context of moral coercion of the conscience of parents, who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. This is an unjust alternative choice, which must be eliminated as soon as possible.”
That was five years ago. And according to Dr. Deisher we are no closer to eliminating that “unjust alternative choice” than we were then.
What is the Future in Medicine?
Without clear “conscience clauses” in place for medical providers, health care providers could be forced to provide illicit vaccines, other drugs or therapies to their patients or risk losing their job.
Last August, Dr. Deisher made news when she, with a co-plaintiff, stopped the Obama Administration from providing federal research dollars for human embryonic stem cells. The case is under appeal, and a judge is allowing the federal funding to remain in place while the case goes on. As a result, some of the more half-million human embryos being stored across the country are now in danger of being killed in the name of science. There are Catholic researchers like Dr. Deisher who want to create a world in which cures for disease don’t involve destruction of human life.
Several years ago Dr. Diesher started two companies that began developing ways to produce drugs and vaccines that did not use aborted babies in their make-up or their research for development.
Many Catholic physicians would like to be able dispense vaccines and drugs that are not tainted by abortion. Since Catholic parents are often unaware which vaccines may be tainted by abortion, they may decide not to vaccinate their children on “religious” grounds. There are “religious” exemptions in most states, and national figures show about ten percent of children are never vaccinated for a variety of reasons.
Dr. Deisher’s company, Ave Maria Bio Technology, is working to develop vaccines that would replace the Chickenpox and Measle/Mumps/Rubella vaccines. Both of these contain the DNA of babies voluntarily aborted by their mothers. The manufacturers then used that DNA to create vaccines. That originally-tainted DNA continues to be used to manufacture these vaccines today.
And according to Dr. Deisher, the trend isn’t going the other way. Money is pouring into human embryonic stem cell research. There is DNA available from voluntarily aborted babies around the world. Patients right now, some unknowingly, are using ten vaccines and three high-tech bio-drugs that contain voluntarily aborted babies’ cell lines. Scores more of these so-called designer drugs are on the way.
Cloning a human being is just the next step in that continuum of care. Scientists could grow your own body parts from clones of you. Think of taking the frozen human embryo one step further by creating a “perfect” replacement part for whatever disease, ailment or missing part that a human might be “suffering” from.
Is that the world that physicians will be forced to practice in the years to come? Is that the world that patients, who are forced to partake in federally-mandated health care be required to participate in?