Scientific experimentation, particularly the creation and use of embryos which involve the deliberate destruction of human life is unethical.
Using the remains of aborted foetuses for research is no justification for abortion and cannot be condoned by Voice for Life.
Research methodology must be consistent with protecting human life, e.g. stem cells are present in adult tissue, and can be safely used in research without endangering the life of an embryo or foetus. Voice for Life speaks for a clear understanding of the humanity involved in scientific development.
Indeed, the ability to engineer society by deliberately choosing or rejecting genetic traits is a dangerous premise for scientific endeavour.
Science bestowed immense new powers on man and at the same time created conditions which were largely beyond his comprehension and still more beyond his power.
– Winston Churchill. Speech, March 31, 1949
The Beginning of Life
Sperm enter the women’s vagina, swim through the cavity in her uterus and out through her fallopian tubes. It may only take 5 minutes to reach the fallopian tubes and as little as another 15 minutes to reach the ovaries. When the sperm penetrates the ovum “the egg reacts in a split second and initiates a mechanism that prevents other sperm from penetrating“.
The 23 chromosomes from the male sperm combine with the 23 chromosomes from the female ovum and a new human life is created. This single cell human is call a zygote. Some 30 hours later the first cell division occurs (cleavage). At the one cell stage it is easy but erroneous to make the comparison to any other single cell in the body. The first single cell is probably the most complex type of cell that is likely to be found anywhere as from it derives the complex anatomy of the human being. A single cell from the skin is not capable of doing this.
At about one week of life, at the blastocyst stage of about 128 or 256 cells, it implants into the nutrient lining of the uterus. There only three days later, this tiny child sends a chemical-hormonal message into the mother’s body, which stops her menstrual cycle.
“Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception [they defined fertilization and conception to be the same] marks the beginning of the life of a human – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological and scientific writings.”
Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session 1981, p.7
“Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”
Professor J. Lejeune
“It is an established fact that human life begins at conception.”
Professor H. Gordon, Mayo Clinic
“It is scientifically correct to say that individual human life begins at conception”
Professor M. Matthews-Roth, Harvard University
The DNA genetic signature proves that the unborn is human.
- The DNA indicates what kind of bodily form the adult is going to take, even at the earliest stage the zygote is still human.
- Looks can be deceptive especially when we are not used it but the DNA give unmistakable evidence
- If we watch the development long enough we will see the zygote form into a more recognisable human shape.
- The zygote cannot develop in any direction, but only in a way consistent with its internal structure or nature.
- The unborn does change into a human it only looks more human to our eyes.
- Living things don’t become different creatures when they change their outward appearance.
- Living beings develop according to a certain physical pattern based on the kind of creature they already are.
The Principle of Biogenesis Proves the Unborn is a Human Being
In the 19th century, scientist Louis Pasteur among others disproved the theory of the spontaneous generation of life.
a maggots don’t spontaneously spring from discarded meat.
b mice aren’t spontaneously created from piles of rags. Pasteur’s discoveries led to the principles of biogenesis, which states two things
a all life comes from pre-existent life
b each being reproduces after its own kind
The unborn is genetically distinct from her parents. Unlike sperm and ovum, the zygote possess the inherent capacity to develop into an embryo, foetus, infant, child, adolescent and adult. Though the sperm and ovum are human cellular material they will never become human beings. In the same way a severed hand is totally human but will never become a human.
The zygote is a complete human being with the potential to grow into an adult. The zygote does not have the potential to become a human; she is a human, complete in every way. While she does not fit the bill in respect of our perceptions of what a human should look like, she is everything a human being should be at this stage of development. The same comparison can be made between a newborn and a physically mature adult.
If a man loses reverence for any part of life, then he will lose his reverence for all life.
– Albert Schweitzer.
Where do “spare” embryos come from?
- From women seeking IVF or GIFT who are given fertility drugs that produce large number s of eggs. All these eggs are fertilised and only few can be replaced. The women are generally asked if they would donate the “spare” embryos for research. Voice for Life would suggest that the women are being subjected to a form of exploitation and manipulation through this request when they are in a vulnerable state.
- From women requesting sterilisation. In Britain it is practice to offer fertility drugs to women making this request, if they accept they receive free care at private clinics or are jumped up the public waiting lists. In these cases the eggs are never intended to be returned to the mother but are destined for research.
The fertility drugs administered to the mother will generally make the lining of the womb less receptive to the implantation of the embryo and contributes to the high failure rate. In 1993 the success rate was shown thus:
Number of contributing countries 46
Pregnancy rate/100 treatment cycles 17.9
Live birth rate/100 treatment cycles 12.9
It can be deduced that if 5 embryos were created in vitro and it was normal for 3 embryos to be implanted then there is a 40% morbidity rate at the outset and further 87.1% morbidity rate between transfer and birth due to failed nidation and miscarriage. Expressed in another way, if the 100 treatment cycles involved 3 embryos per cycle then the birth rate to embryos created would be 12.9/300 or 4.3%. Therefore, it can be seen that out of every 100 embryos created 95 will die. What other non-life threatening procedure would a doctor undertake knowing that 95 of his patients will perish?
We can compare these facts with the claim of an Israeli scientist at the annual meeting of the European society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in July 2003. The scientist claimed that eggs retrieved from aborted foetuses would relieve the worldwide shortage of human eggs for fertility treatments.
Louise Brown (the first test tube baby) was attempt 104.
The Australian Parliamentary Hansard records the following debate which gives some insight into the underlying reason for IVF:
[framed_box]Senator Harradine: you go on, on page 3 to say: There are many scientific experiments that need to be undertaken on human pre-embryos. There is no appropriate laboratory animal or sub-human primate for many of these experiments, so great are the differences between the species. Could I ask you a direct question: How often has IVF been undertaken on non-human higher primates?
Prof. Short: It has not been undertaken on gorillas because gorillas are endangered species. It has not been undertaken on chimpanzees because chimpanzees are endangered species. It has not been undertaken on orang-utans because orang-utans are endangered species.
Senator Harradine: So you are able to do it on humans.
Prof. Short: We are not endangered.[/framed_box]
Embryo research is required to improve the success of IVF. There is a distinction between invasive research in which the embryo is destroyed and non-invasive research in which the embryo is to be implanted into the mother, notwithstanding that many embryos are destroyed even before implantation can take place.
South Australia, Norway, Denmark have a ban on embryo research while Germany bans all embryo research and bans the creation of spare embryos – only sufficient eggs must be fertilised that will be replaced into the mother.
Embryo research is needed to treat and eliminate congenital and inherited diseases.
The Royal College of Physicians produced a report in September 1989 which states “Most infants with congenital malformations and chromosomal disorders are born to healthy young women with no previously identifiable risk factors.
Much embryo biopsy and pre natal diagnosis is done with the intent of aborting a much wanted but affected embryo. The NZ Downs Syndrome Assoc reports that generally 90% of mothers who have a positive test will make a decision to terminate. This shows that the purpose of the test is abortion related.
Other tests have included:
- Administering RU486 to eggs collected from women undergoing steriliation, then fertilising the eggs and studying the resultant embryos.
- Collecting live 4 month old aborted embryos, removing their arms and placing same in culture and testing with thalidomide to see why the drug caused such terrible deformities.
- During the 1969 International Population Union Conference on the Scientific Study of Population it was stated that a supply of embryos for research was considered an essential ingredient in developing techniques to combat pregnancy.
- In the 14th annual report of the WHO Special Programme’s Task Force on Vaccines for Fertility Regulation, published in 1985, the following statement is made ” The embryo represents an ideal target for attack since it comes into contact with the maternal circulation at a very early stage in its development.”
Attempts to upgrade IVF babies prior to implantation will occur if international moratoria on germ-line and zygote enhancement are no instituted and policed. Already there is widespread sex selection by testing for the X & Y chromosomes and the notion of children being gifts with all their strengths and faults is being replaced with a consumer mentality that we can place an order for the type of child that we want. There will is already an expectation of designer babies or super babies. This ideology makes us les tolerant of anything or anyone who does not measure up.