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Childish Politics

Jun
2
2005

The Stem Cell emotion battle is reaching new, er, highs.
Today’s New York Times has a front page piece on “adopted” embryos, yet another attempt on the part of the Family Research Council to get people to believe that little collections of cells are living, breathing humans. It’s part of the research council’s attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade by drawing historical comparisons between the anti-abortion movement and the abolition of slavery.
As part of this political evangalizing, they’re playing with science. Which is really annoying. Ask anyone who’s ever tried to have a kid just how hard it is to get those little collections of cells to take root and grow. That’s when you’re considered pregnant by most doctors and that’s why folks like me have such little patience with these attempts to breath life in to cells that have – under the right circumstances – the chance to become human beings.
Lots of women never get pregnant because that very important step never takes place and we don’t go around calling them murderers. Not yet, anyway. We say it’s nature taking it course. It’s a rough road, too. Even when you have science on your side it’s hard to get that collection of cells to turn into a human. The Times piece takes a stab at this point, an inelegant one, but an attempt never-the-less:

“To carry an embryo, Ms. McClure, 45, who home-schooled her children, now 11, 16 and 19, first had to undergo surgery to remove polyps. Then, most of the 13 embryos proved unviable, and one round of embryo implantation failed before she finally had a successful pregnancy using the final embryo.
Couples adopting or donating Snowflakes embryos are mostly Christian, and most embryo donors are white, Ms. Maze said. Some families are Roman Catholic, even though the church has historically opposed in vitro fertilization.”

I’m sorry. This isn’t about “saving” lives. It’s about demonstrating moral certainty and superiority for political gain and it ought to be called what it is, as bluntly as possible as quickly as possible. I am getting sick of this sort of rhetoric; it goes nowhere. It changes no minds. It just makes things more empassioned and less informative.
FOOTNOTE: For another update on how Family Research and company have taken a difficult topic — Terri Schiavo’s last days – and boiled it down to a point of moral certainty, see Joan Didion’s piece in the New York Review of Books. It’s a nicely nuanced view of a subject that she rightly points out, none of us are really prepared to address. Didion does the best job I’ve seen of taking the woman she calls Theresa Schiavo’s side in this debate and her conclusions and observations are worth reading.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 12:26 PM | Permalink

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