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America's Culture War: Abortion

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Paying the Price

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Unlike the animals, humans have a conscience. Although evolutionists have yet to explain the existence of the conscience, the fact remains that humans recognize certain behaviors and actions as wrong. So how do you get individuals to do something that they feel is wrong? The answer in a single word is money. Offer an enormous amount of money, and some people are willing to push the envelope or bend the rules.

Such is the case with the new “egg sharing” program now underway in Europe. Camerson Simpson noted, “Women are to be offered cut-price fertility treatment for handing over half their eggs to cloning researchers” (2006). A Newcastle University press release explained: “Under the egg sharing scheme, the research team would contribute to the cost of a patient’s IVF treatment in return for the donation of some of her eggs. The material would be used in a field of stem cell research known as nuclear transfer, or therapeutic cloning” (“Egg Sharing...,” 2006). Simpson noted: “The controversial ‘egg-sharing’ scheme will allow women to halve the £3500 cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) at the Newcastle NHS Fertility Center. In return, they will have to surrender half of their fresh eggs to scientists from Newcastle and Durham Universities” (2006).

While many parents experiencing fertility problems will view this “remedy” as an answer to prayers, they would do well to consider the implications. According to Simpson, “Once they are in the laboratory, the eggs will be used to create cloned early-stage embryos, from which it is hoped to extract stem cells” (2006). In other words, the eggs will be used to create embryos (tiny babies), who will subsequently be destroyed as researchers pillage the embryos to obtain their stem cells. Ironically, this paid annihilation of life is happening at Newcastle Fertility Center at LIFE, which states on its Web site: “We are an NHS funded unit based at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle” (“Welcome to...,” n.d.). I recommend they consider a name change—Centre for the Destruction of Life.

These researchers are following basic market economics. In the past, there have not been enough eggs to conduct embryonic stem cell research. Newcastle University noted: “The team, from the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI), anticipates the move will lead to an increase in the number of eggs for research, allowing faster progress to be made towards stem cell therapies for conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease” (“Egg Sharing...,” 2006). The university’s press release continued: “Researchers say, however, the number of eggs donated is too small to allow the work to progress rapidly, and existing practice provided only 66 eggs in seven months. Research suggests that nuclear transfer is only likely to be successful if eggs are ‘fresh’—used immediately after they have been taken from the women” (2006).

So in return for giving half of their fresh eggs to scientists at Newcastle and Durham Universities, women will find a marked reduced bill for in vitro fertilization procedures. This decision comes after permission was granted by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (Simpson, 2006). This declaration comes on the heels of Professor Ian Wilmut (who cloned Dolly the sheep) receiving permission to clone humans at Edinburgh. The new “egg sharing” program could open the door for other universities, including Edinburgh, to obtain human eggs for research. This economic scheme has not come without sharp criticism—with many calling the HFEA decision “lunacy” and showing “contempt” for public opinion (Simpson, 2006). But that has not stopped this new spin on market economics.

When individuals are willing to cast aside their conscience to save money, it reveals a problem larger than just embryonic stem cell research. The very fact that this “egg-sharing” program is even available speaks loudly of how hardened many hearts have become. Our moral compass no longer points to true north—we no longer acknowledge an absolute standard of right and wrong. The words of Jesus should ring loudly in the ears of those ready to walk down this slippery slope of egg sharing: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). [NOTE: For a discussion of the moral implications of human cloning and stem-cell research, see Harrub and Thompson, 2001.]

REFERENCES

“‘Egg Sharing’ Go-Ahead for Stem Cell Researchers,” (2006), Newcastle University, July 27, [On-line], URL: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/content.phtml?ref =1154008083.

Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2001), “Human Cloning and Stem-Cell Research—Science’s ‘Slippery Slope’ [Parts I,II,III],” [On-line], URL: www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2877.

Simpson, Camerson (2006), “Half-Price IVF Offer If Women Donate Eggs,” The Herald, [On-line], URL: http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/66749-print.shtml.

“Welcome to the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life” (no date), Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, [On-line], URL: http://www.nfc-life.com/content.html.




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