I was reading an article in the Feb. 12 issue of Time magazine recently, and a column by Charles Krauthammer caught my eye. His piece was attacking pro-life activists for their stance against fetal tissue research, and although he was clearly trying to make a point, he completely missed it. I'll tell you why.
His main arguments were that the stem cells used for this research are taken from embryos already produced for in-vitro fertilization or from aborted fetuses. He stated that these procedures are both legal, so that makes it OK. Well, gee, I got the impression that pro-life activists were against abortion. Yes, abortion is still legal in this country, but pro-lifers don't want it to be. This comment of his was a true example of circular logic if I've ever seen one.
Another argument from the columnist was that there would be no incentive for people to "abort or otherwise produce embryos just for their useful parts: No payment for embryos and no dedication of embryonic cells for specific recipients."
OK, so you won't get paid to have an abortion. That's all well and good, but I suspect that one of the biggest drawbacks of abortion is the guilt most women will inevitably feel after they have one. If they knew that the fetus would be going somewhere useful anyway, this guilt might lessen somewhat, and some women could start to have no qualms about terminating a pregnancy.
I can see it now: the new era of "free love"; "Hey, everyone, let's all just have completely irresponsible sex because if you get pregnant, you can have an abortion and the fetus will go for tissue research and you'll be a hero!"
Now, for those of you who are thinking "oh, she doesn't understand, she doesn't know anyone who has to deal with a disease that could be helped by this research," I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. My own father has Parkinson's disease, one of the primary illnesses scientists think could benefit from this research. I love my father more than anything on this planet, but as much as I wish there could be some miracle cure for his illness, I still have to stick to my principles. I think he would be proud of me for standing up for my beliefs; he taught me to do just that.
We are not meant to live forever. We are put on this earth, for however short or long a time, to live our lives to the fullest and to be grateful for every single day. Yes, diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's cause suffering for the people who have them and for their families. However, everyone must deal with suffering, and we all have to die someday. I don't ever want to lose my father, but someday I will and it will be incredibly painful. However, life goes on.
I think fetal tissue research is a field that we don't need to enter. I find any of these new methods for trying to create and manipulate the human species, like cloning, reprehensible. There is a difference between saving lives and playing God, and I think we are crossing that line.