Posts belonging to Category Abortion

Alternatives to Embyronic Stem Cell Research

The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, by Scott Klusendorf Yesterday I posted part of an interview with Scott Klusendorf, author of The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture. Here is a later part from the same interview where Scott talks about some of the alternatives to Embyronic Stem Cell Research (ESCR). The bottom line is that there are positive ways to continue stem cell research without destroying human embryos in the process.

Not only is embryonic stem cell research immoral, but it may be unnecessary. First, numerous peer-reviewed studies indicate that adult stem cells are more effective at treating disease than previously thought. Unlike embryo stem cell research, we can extract these adult cells without harming the donor. Critics of the pro-life view, like the late actor Christopher Reeve, insist that these adult cells won’t work. However, the evidence suggests just the opposite. So far, adult stem cells are outperforming their embryonic counterparts.

Second, new research suggests we can pursue embryo cell treatments in morally acceptable ways. Altered Nuclear Transfer (or ANT) is one new technology which seeks a morally acceptable means of producing pluripotent stem cells (the functional equivalent of embryonic stem cells) without the creation and destruction of human embryos. Instead, researchers will use biological entities that have some of the properties of embryos, but are not living organisms. In 2007, researchers in Japan and the United States, using slightly different methods, successfully coaxed ordinary adult skin cells to function just like pluripotent embryonic ones. This remarkable breakthrough demonstrated that pluripotent cells can be obtained without destroying human embryos. This should come as thrilling news for everyone in the cloning debate intent on using embryo cells.

Here is an interesting video clip from Oprah where Doctor Oz proclaims the stem cell debate closed and explains the benefits of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research (IPS Cell Technology) to Oprah and fellow guest Michael J. Fox. This new technology takes skin cells and makes them embryo-like, thus avoiding both the moral problems of destroying embryos for research as well as the practical problems involved with using embryonic stem cells, such as the risk of tumors in the recipient. (Video length: 3:13)

Related posts:
    • Scott Klusendorf on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
    • They’re Going to Die Anyway

Scott Klusendorf on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, by Scott Klusendorf Crossway has a good interview with Scott Klusendorf on the subject of embryonic stem cell research. Scott is the author of the new book: The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture. This is an important topic for Christians to study, especially during these times when government policy is working to change the laws in this area. Here are the first three questions and answers:

  1. What are stem cells and why are scientists eager to use them in treating disease? Stem cells are fast growing, unspecialized cells that can reproduce themselves and grow new organs for the body. All 210 different types of human tissue originate from these primitive cells. Because they have the potential to grow into almost any kind of tissue—including nerves, bones, and muscle, scientists believe that the introduction of healthy stem cells into a patient may restore lost function to damaged organs, especially the brain.
  2. Why is stem cell research focused, at least in part, on embryos? Human embryos have an abundant supply of stem cells which scientists are eager to harvest in hopes of treating Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses. The practice of securing these early cells is known as embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). The problem is that you must destroy the embryo to secure its stem cells.
  3. Does that mean Christians should oppose all stem cell research? Absolutely not. Pro-life advocates agree that we should save lives. We also support funding stem-cell research. But, we’re opposed to one kind of stem-cell research that requires destroying defenseless human embryos so that other humans may (allegedly) benefit. That’s immoral.

Be sure to visit Crossway for the rest of the interview.

Related posts:
    • Alternatives to Embyronic Stem Cell Research
    • They’re Going to Die Anyway

2009 Sanctity of Human Life Roundup

This is Sanctity of Human Life Week; Sunday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday; and today marks the 36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Here are a number of links from around the web relating to abortion and the sanctity of human life.

The 5-Minute Pro-Lifer. Scott Klusendorf explains how to defend your pro-life views in five minutes or less.

Richard Barcellos shares the following statistics on abortion. “From 1973 to about 2000 there were an estimated 38,000,000 (that’s 38 million!) abortions. That’s about 4,000/day, 173/hr., and roughly 1 every 20 seconds! In 2008, there were roughly 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. Ten years ago there were 1.6 million. But at 1.2 million/yr., that’s still 100,000/month; 23,076/wk; 3,296/day; 137/hr.; and 2.28/minute. Now count to 60.”

The Truth about Roe v. Wade. Read the sworn testimony of Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) as she recounts what really happened in the Roe v. Wade case back in 1973. (HT: Between Two Worlds)

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). During his campaign Obama said he would sign The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) if he became president. FOCA is a radical piece of legislation that would eliminate current restrictions on abortion and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.

An Open Letter to Barack Obama. Pastor Ron Jones posted this open letter to Obama asking him to reconsider his views on abortion. (Ron Jones is pastor of Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virginia, where thousands of people worship each weekend from the Washington D.C. area, many of whom are Pentagon leaders, White House officials, and members of Congress.)

Russel Moore explains “Why I Hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.”

I hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I’m reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children. Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies. No human life is worthless, regardless of skin color, age, disability, economic status. The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness.

Dr. R.C. Sproul presents a free-to-watch six-part video series on abortion, covering the topics: 1) What Are the Key Issues? 2) How Sacred Is Human Life? 3) When Does Life Begin? 4) What Is the Relationship of Church and State? 5) What About Those Who Demand Their Rights? and 6) What Is Your Verdict?

Click here for more posts on the subject of abortion.

2009 Sanctity of Life Proclamation

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us.

The most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent. My Administration has been committed to building a culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental notification laws, opposing Federal funding for abortions overseas, encouraging teen abstinence, and funding crisis pregnancy programs. In 2002, I was honored to sign into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which extends legal protection to children who survive an abortion attempt. I signed legislation in 2003 to ban the cruel practice of partial-birth abortion, and that law represents our commitment to building a culture of life in America. Also, I was proud to sign the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, which allows authorities to charge a person who causes death or injury to a child in the womb with a separate offense in addition to any charges relating to the mother.

America is a caring Nation, and our values should guide us as we harness the gifts of science. In our zeal for new treatments and cures, we must never abandon our fundamental morals. We can achieve the great breakthroughs we all seek with reverence for the gift of life.

The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will prevail.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2009, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Around the Web – 12/3/2008

Freedom of Choice Act

In September of 2007 Senator Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that “the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” Of course, this is either good news or bad news for you depending on what you think of the Act itself. (You can read more about what the Freedom of Choice Act entails and what effect it would have on abortion here: What is the Freedom of Choice Act?) How about you? Do you support or oppose the Freedom of Choice Act?

(Video length: 1:51)

Click here for more abortion related posts.

Abortion – No Middle Ground

Dr. Albert Mohler explains why there can be no middle ground when it comes to the issue of abortion:

One side defines the issue in terms of a woman’s right to control her own destiny … The other side … bases its assumptions on the claim that a human being, at any stage of development, has an intrinsic right to life that must be respected by all humanity …

For the better part of four decades, some have attempted to find a middle ground between these two positions, but to no avail. The reason quickly becomes clear. If abortion is to be understood as a fundamental right, no woman can be denied the exercise of that right. If abortion is the taking of innocent human life, no justification can be offered for abortion as a means of ending an unwanted pregnancy — none at all. Middle ground would be possible only if we can assume that the right to abortion is not fundamental, but merely provisional, and that the unborn child does not have an intrinsic right to life, but only a provisional right. Efforts to frame the issue in this way fail because neither of these assumptions can [be] qualified in this way and remain coherent.

Dr. Mohler also points to a recent essay by Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University detailing Sen. Barack Obama’s views on abortion. George states at the outset of his essay:

Sen. Barack Obama’s views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

I know this is a hot button issue, but how important is the abortion issue to you in the upcoming election? Will the candidates’ views on abortion influence your vote?

Click here for more abortion related posts.

GE Timeline of Fetal Growth

The GE Healthcare Timeline of Fetal Growth illustrates the development of a fetus from week 6 until birth as viewed through ultrasound. The timeline highlights important developments in the fetus over time accompanied by stunning 4D ultrasound images of the baby in the womb. (You can click on the images to see a larger version.)

Ultrasound at 14 Weeks     Ultrasound at 28 Weeks

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

HT: Stand to Reason

Animal Rights, Plant Rights

First there were human rights, then came animal rights, and now there are plant rights. I guess rocks are next.

The most tragic dimension of all this is that a culture increasingly ready to euthanize the old, infanticize the young, and adamant about a “right” to abort unborn human beings, will now contend for the inherent dignity of plants. Can any culture recover from this?

How Big is 46 Million?

Over 46 million children have been lost to abortion in the United States since the passing of Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973. Of course, it is hard to picture a number that big. This link provides a helpful way of visualizing the number 46 million all on one page. Make sure you click on the blue dot at the very end.

HT: Mirror of Justice

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Top 5 Pro-Life Books Today

(Note: Today is the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which invalidated state laws prohibiting or restricting abortion.)

Justin Taylor recently interviewed Scott Klusendorf, author of the upcoming book: Equipped to Engage: Pro-Life Christians in the Brave New World. During the interview, Klusendorf shared what he believes are the top 5 pro-life books available today.

1. For newcomers to the debate, Randy Alcorn’s Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Questions (Multnomah, 1992; revised 1999) is terrific. Randy’s work is a valuable reference guide for lay people, highly readable, and meticulously organized so that the reader can pick and choose those parts of the book needed for the immediate pro-abortion challenge at hand …

2. For more seasoned readers, Francis J. Beckwith’s Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion-Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007) is absolutely stellar. Indeed, this outstanding book is a favorite of advanced pro-life apologists everywhere. The arguments presented are lucid and hard-hitting, but the style is clearly more academic than Alcorn’s book. It’s one of the finest (if not the finest) systematic defenses of the pro-life position to date …

3. The third title is Ramesh Ponnuru’s excellent book The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life (Regency, 2006). Ramesh’s strengths lie in outlining the political implications of the debates over abortion and embryo research and how those debates have been hijacked within the Democratic Party, the Federal Courts, and the Media. His survey of the cultural and political landscape is breathtaking and second to none …

4. Fourth, there is Hadley Arke’s Natural Rights and the Right to Choose (Cambridge University Press, rev. ed., 2004). Hadley’s thesis is simple: If we can arbitrarily alter the definition of “man” to suit our preferences, and if nature provides no definition of a human being that we are obliged to respect, then we remove all claim to natural rights, including the right to an abortion. That’s key, because as you know, secular liberals insist that abortion is a fundamental human right the State should not infringe upon. Arkes simply wants to know where this alleged right to an abortion comes from. In other words, is it a natural right that springs from our nature as human beings or is it a positive (legal) right granted by government? If the latter, the abortion advocate cannot really complain that she is wronged if the State does not permit her to abort … In short, the defenders of abortion cannot tell us where rights come from or why anyone should have them. By advocating an alleged right to choose, they have talked themselves out of the very natural rights upon which their own freedoms are built.

5. Finally, we shouldn’t overlook Wesley J. Smith’s A Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World (Encounter Books, 2004). The debate over human value has moved way beyond the abortion controversy. We’re now contending with human cloning, genetic engineering, and the creation of human-animal hybrids. As I said before, the very definition of what it means to be human is up for grabs. But how many churchgoers block out time to think seriously about what makes humans valuable in the first place? That, coupled with a deafening silence from our pulpits, and it’s no wonder many believers are ill-equipped to sift through the lies and deceptions coming out of big-biotech. Smith’s book gives Christians the tools they need to think clearly on these biotech issues.

Be sure to read the whole interview for more insights from Scott Klusendorf. Justin also interviews Robert P. George on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Click here for more abortion related posts.

Creating Embryonic Stem Cells from Skin Cells

The New York Times reported last week on some hopeful advances in the whole area of embryonic stem cell research.

The advance is an easy-to-use technique for reprogramming a skin cell of a mouse back to the embryonic state. Embryonic cells can be induced in the laboratory to develop into many of the body’s major tissues.

If the technique can be adapted to human cells, researchers could use a patient’s skin cells to generate new heart, liver or kidney cells that might be transplantable and would not be rejected by the patient’s immune system …

The technique, if adaptable to human cells … would not involve the expensive and controversial use of human eggs, and should avoid all or almost all of the ethical criticism directed at the use of embryonic stem cells.

This seems to me like the best of both worlds – the benefits of embryonic stem cells without the destruction of human embryos. This would allow for medical research to continue while preserving the sanctity of human life in the womb.