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Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’


This today from the Journal, Science

Science 1 January 2010:
Vol. 327. no. 5961, p. 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5961.25
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NEWS OF THE WEEK
IRELAND:
Embryo Ruling Keeps Stem Cell Research Legal

Gretchen Vogel

A ruling from the Irish Supreme Court has reignited that country’s debate over the legal status of human embryos, confirming the legality of research with human embryonic stem cells but leaving such work in a regulatory limbo that may not be resolved soon. On 15 December, the court ruled that human embryos outside the womb are not “unborn” and therefore are not protected under the country’s constitution. The case before the court, in which a woman wanted to implant frozen embryos against the wishes of her estranged husband, does not directly involve stem cell research, but an opposite ruling could have made such work unconstitutional.

The great hope, for Ireland and elsewhere, is the realization that ESC technology, now 28 years old has not even come close to making it past animal trials, as these cells are too prone to developing tumors. Cash-strapped governments (Obama notwithstanding) will increasingly cast a favorable eye on adult stem cells, as ASC technology has already yielded hundreds of applications in human therapeutics.

It’s tragic to see Ireland, the bastion of Catholic fidelity, descend into the abortion quagmire.

Stay tuned.

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Perhaps if the Justices in Ireland had read George and Tollefsen’s monumental, yet very readable work, Embryo: A defense of Human Life, they would have avoided handing down their recent catastrophic decision.

In ruling that human embryos are not human persons, the justices have decided that personhood is not an essential, intrinsic attribute of being, but rather an accidental attribute that comes and goes based upon some arbitrary criteria. This mistake now takes Ireland one very long step down the road toward more liberalized laws on abortion, euthanasia, and physician-assisted suicide. The rest of the story here.

In the particular case before them, parental rights over frozen embryos, the true horror of in vitro fertilization manifests itself. Parents treat their offspring as mere property, to be disposed of at whim. This happens way before they get to the stage of storing the ‘leftovers’ in liquid nitrogen. The process of embryo sorting, looking for the most fit, occurs right after fertilization. In order to accomplish this, the embryo needs to defined out of the human family.

Medical textbooks used to define pregnancy as beginning with fertilization. To accommodate the abortafacient reality of the birth control pill and to accommodate IVF, the definition has been changed to pregnancy defined by implantation. Changing definitions does not change objective reality, but it does clear the way for big business.

The truth is that good parents do all within their power to facilitate each of their children’s growth and development. Liquid nitrogen cold storage is the greatest of all molestations. Winnowing the offspring for keepers is extreme narcissism, if not downright diabolical. But as human history teaches, once one is defined out of the human family, anything goes.

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