Family Research Council

April 21, 2014 - Monday

Cloners Eggs-periment with Disaster

While millions of people were busy hiding eggs for kids, scientists were hunting for eggs. Human ones. While researchers in London are growing noses, ears, and blood vessels with ethical stem cells, some scientists are still stubbornly plowing ahead with their morally dubious methods. Just last week, scientists from the U.S. and Korea broke the news that they had successfully created cloned human embryos , then killed the young humans for their embryonic stem cells.

While not the first successful human embryo cloning, it is the first time any scientists have used the DNA from adults to create the cloned human embryos. By showing that it's possible to refine the technique and make clones (even embryonic clones) of adults, it brings us even closer to the threat of using this technique to gestate and birth human cloned children. Not surprisingly, some of the more deceptive scientists call this possibility nonsense, but the cloners themselves admit that their embryos could develop into babies if implanted in surrogate wombs. To keep from alarming people, they insist they only want to "harvest" cells from the unfortunate clones for lab research and cures. Of course, what they neglect to mention is that there are zero cures or treatments available from embryonic stem cells -- whether from clones or not. The only bona fide successes, the only successful stem cells, are ethical adult stem cells.

But don't take our word for it. Take the patients' -- like Jackie, who just beat Lupus with the help of adult stem cells (ASCs) and starred in a new FRC video talking about it. Until these headlines, most of the debate over stem cells had died down -- a casualty of the vastly superior adult stem cells (ASC), which have been treating actual patients for years. The consensus became even more obvious when money for embryonic stem cell research started quietly shifting to the ethical and effective alternative of ASCs. With adult stem cells successfully treating more than 80 diseases and conditions, several experts declared an end to the stem cell race. Last Thursday's announcement won't change that, but it will certainly make the conversation more interesting.

Editors at the Washington Post cheered this latest development, insisting that "ethical worries" shouldn't hold the researchers back -- even though many believe this path could lead to outright human cloning. "The procedure is not perfect. It took a lot of eggs to record a few successes. Moreover, it is the sort of technique scientists would use if they were trying to engage in reproductive cloning -- creating full formed human beings who are exact genetic copies of other human beings."

Obviously, you can't make an embryo without breaking a few eggs -- and that's exactly what FRC's Dr. David Prentice is concerned about. He and our government affairs team are working to ensure science is bridled by ethics and that research that takes innocent human lives is prohibited. Even the Washington Post, despite its support for this "brave new world," recognizes the need for some scientific accountability.

And that's exactly what Congressmen Dan Lipinksi (D-Ill.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.) were aiming for with their Human Cloning Prohibition Act. Under their bill, any person or entity would be barred from cloning or attempting to clone a human being. For now, the bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee, where news like this should help speed up a hearing on the issue.

Pro-Lifers Couldn't Agree Moore

Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona don't just start with "A," they've earned one for their pro-life efforts! When it comes to victories for the unborn, it's been a big month for states at the beginning of the alphabet, as leaders celebrate wins for women's health and the inherent dignity of the unborn just in the last few weeks. In the Last Frontier, taxpayers come first, thanks to Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (R) who just inked his name to a bill that helps wall off government money from the abortion business.

By signing SB 49 into law, he and the legislature drew clear lines around what constitutes a "medically necessary" abortion. Too often, clinics try to find loopholes around state laws by claiming an abortion was necessary to protect the mother's health -- when in reality, only a small fraction of those patients (some estimate 4%) need the abortion for legitimate medical reasons. Under Alaska's new law, only mothers who have physical reasons for aborting will receive Medicaid (read: taxpayer-funded) coverage for the procedure, which should drastically cut down on the system's abuse.

Over in Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer (R), who's made more headlines for the bills she hasn't signed, did the right thing on the state's "surprise inspection" measure that would do away with the rule that health officials need a warrant before visiting an abortion clinic unannounced. In passing the bill, Arizona becomes the 10th state to allow for spot inspections of clinics that, in most places, are less regulated than tanning salons.

Last but certainly not least, pro-lifers got a huge boost from the state's supreme court, where justices ruled 8-1 that babies in the womb deserve legal protection. In an interesting twist, the case involved a mom who used illegal drugs while she was pregnant. When she tested positive for drugs after giving birth, she was found guilty of Alabama's chemical endangerment statute.

Despite a court challenge, the justices upheld her conviction in a ruling written by "Ten Commandments" Chief Justice Roy Moore, who insisted that these children have the same inalienable rights that our forefathers outlined in the Declaration of Independence. "[T]he plain meaning of the word 'child,' as that word is used in the chemical-endangerment statute, includes an unborn child," they insist. "As the gift of God, this right to life is not subject to violation by another's unilateral choice," Moore makes clear .

Euthanasia: A Political Dead End?

Belgium recently passed a child euthanasia law, making it one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to euthanasia. What is the state of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the U.S.? Do people have a right to die? Is there a moral difference between active and passive euthanasia? Voluntary or involuntary euthanasia? What is dysthanasia and how do we judge between proportional and disproportional care? Will healthcare decisions impact the future prevalence of euthanasia in the U.S.? What is a Christian's social responsibility toward the sick and the dying? Arina Grossu, FRC's Director of the Center for Human Dignity, will explore these and other issues surrounding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in the U.S. at a special lecture this Wednesday, April 23 at noon. Don't miss this important conversation, which continues to be at the fore of the ObamaCare rationing debate. Find out more here!


** Congress may have been out, but FRC kept busy. Check out Leanna Baumer's new piece for the Daily Caller, " Air Force Must Follow Congressional Intent on Religious Liberty ." Bob Morrison tackled the marriage debate in CNSNews.com with " The 'Inevitable' Republic of Quebec: There's Hope for Marriage Yet ."


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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