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Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involved are quoted as saying, "All of this research which we do in the lab should have enormous benefit."; and, "I was deeply saddened that I had to terminate the experiment after 14 days because of an arbitrary rule."  The rule to which he is referring was established some years ago when no one dreamed it would be possible for an embryo to be viable in vitro that long.

What I found most chilling was the interviewed scientist expressing such joy at seeing the embryo actually reaching out to find a place to implant -- to live! -- even though it was only surrounded by plastic.  If the 14 day rule is removed, that will soon be a human baby looking to suckle and finding nothing by plastic.  His joy sounds creepy and evil in that context.  Those scientists who are crowing about the benefits of their research and crying about arbitrary rules that limit their investigations are echoing the arguments of Mengele, the Nazi "Angel of Death."  You think my comparison is over the top?  If you'll tell me (not you, but you know who they are), "The whole process is just a chemical reaction.  Mix some human sperm cells with human ova... presto!  human embryo!  Nothing special here."  Really?  And just when does it become special?  At some point "it" becomes human, right?  Doesn't it?  When do our modern researchers on human "embryoids" (a term concocted to take the sting out of calling it what it is) cross that line?

Moreover, let us consider the arguments for abortion.  (1) The woman's right to self-determination concerning her own body.  (2) The non-viability of the embryo/fetus in vitro.  Both arguments fall away; there is no woman's body at risk here -- just a glass dish in a sterile lab.  The whole point is that the embryo/fetus is viable.  Premature babies as early as 21 weeks into the pregnancy have survived.  This new research shows that the survival can be pushed back all the way to conception.  Read that again, please.  There is now (or very soon in the future) no human baby, fetus, embryo, nor even zygote that can be labeled as "not viable"; with our without a mother's womb.

All of that... and the only thing the NPR article could find newsworthy was "how arbitrary the 14 day rule is."  I feel sick.


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