Let me begin by saying that it is never my practice to write about rumors or tales from the blogosphere. So when I got the following message, my heart went right into my throat (figuratively speaking) and I decided at once that the story was a hoax.
But now I am convinced it is true. The story goes like this. In November of 2008, I received the following e-mail from a fellow pro-lifer in Michigan:
Just after election night when Michigan adopted Proposal 2 (which made embryonic stem cell [research] easier to do in Michigan!), a local news station ran a story about a couple who had tried everything to help their toddler who had severe brain trauma. The story claimed that the "victory for stem cell research in MI" would help children and families with similar plights…However, the news reporter refused to mention the exact type of treatment being given to the child. So, I called…
The news station said that the family did not want to divulge any info about the specifics. They just wanted donations. So I went to the family's donation web site and inquired there…
To make a long story short, I assumed that the whole thing was a sham; that the child was most likely receiving adult stem cell therapy, not embryonic. To my knowledge, to date there is NO embryonic research that has had any positive outcomes. I have taught this to adults and youth in my church and school. My facts are based on what I read in ALL, HLI, and similar publications.
Here is where the plot thickens…
The father of the child called me back! He made me insist that I was not a reporter. He went on to tell me that they are paying for treatment from a European doctor … It is alleged that in Europe, women electing abortion are given a chance to "donate their aborted fetus to science." I guess this offers some altruistic sense of generosity toward the public good to women who choose to kill their young.
The father and I talked at length. I told him that I had hoped he would say it was adult stem research b/c I have a family member with a similar condition, but we are devout Catholics and could never use embryos for any treatment for our child. He justified himself, saying he thought and prayed for some time…the fetuses were already dead, and nothing could be done about that…and everyone has to make the choice for themselves…He also asked me to keep the doctor's web site on the QT because he did not want any bad press..
Obviously the parents of this little boy were desperate for help for their child, and the "European doctor" they chose does indeed exist, does have a web site, is actually an American, and has a sordid history. The web site is and the doctor who is the focus of the web site is William C. Rader, M.D.
In 2006, Human Life International reported the following about Rader:
Dr. William C. Rader, a Malibu psychiatrist who ran a chain of eating disorder clinics in Los Angeles, has cooperated with Yuliy Baltaytis in the past. Rader was kicked out of the Bahamas, but not before he had made more than $33 million treating a thousand patients with fetal stem cell injections. Rader says that he has not published anything in the medical literature because it would leave him vulnerable to attacks from a "conspiracy" of scientists, government authorities, and pro-lifers (where have we heard that line before?) The business, which he co-founded with Baltaytis, has run through a succession of names, including Mediquest Ltd., Czech Foundation and Dulcinea. It is now called "Medra," and its web site boasts that it can use fetal stem cells to cause "remarkable physical and psychological improvements" regarding virtually every known ailment, including Alzheimer's, autism, brain damage, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, impotence, leukemia, MS, Parkinson's, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle-cell anemia, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and even the effects of aging. All patients have to do is get to the Dominican Republic, "a one-hour-and-forty-five-minute flight from Miami." Oh, and bring plenty of cash.
The Human Life International report also states, the fetal stem cell injection industry is rife with fraud. This is natural whenever massive amounts of money can be made in a very short period of time with all the risk being borne by gullible patients.
It's important to note that in this age of Internet communication, reports and stories can get out there, which can either be totally fabricated, or as real as the nose on your face. And in Rader's case, his reviewers and those who know of his work are anything but a cheering fan club. For example, "Cure A.L.S Ride for Life Online" tells the 2005 story of Anne Dumphy who was dying of ALS and thought that Dr. Rader held positive hope for her. As it turned out, she spent $30,000 on Rader's stem cell therapy, got a stronger immune system and died of ALS anyway. As the report makes clear Rader is playing on emotions and making promise that he does not seem to deliver.
In a similar commentary on the ALS Therapy Development Institute web site, one person posted in 2004, "My Aunt had the procedure by Dr. Rader in the Dominican Republic two years ago. The procedure did help her immune system but did not stop the progression of her ALS. We feel the $ given to Dr. Rader could have been better spent."
And in 2005, The Los Angeles Times ran a story on what they termed "unproven stem cell therapies" being marketed from clinics outside the United States. Rader was one of those who were featured in the report. He claimed to have cured early Alzheimer's, said he charges $25,000 for the first injection and $8,500 for each follow up injection and told the reporter, "I think there is a higher power. I feel that I am just simply a conduit." The L.A. Times also reports, "Rader, 66, said he has not published anything about his therapy because that would open him to attack from a 'conspiracy' of scientists, government authorities, pharmaceutical companies and abortion opponents."
Today, when you visit the Medra web site, you will find that the fetal stem cells he uses come from Eastern Europe, or at least that is his claim. You will also find nothing in the way of a scientific study or a confirmation of the validity of his work, and no endorsements from prestigious institutions or any kind.
So I ask myself if perhaps the entire in vitro fertilization industry has produced yet another thriving business that would never have come about had scientists never decided that they could "create" babies better than the proven method designed by God. And after three months of wondering, whatever happened to that anonymous little boy in Michigan who started me thinking about all this?
When the Vatican first issued its document on in vitro fertilization in 1987, the likes of Dr. Rader were probably not uppermost in their minds, and yet they did have the wisdom to state
To use human embryos or foetuses as the object or instrument of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings having a right to the same respect that is due to the child already born and to every human person.
This Michigan family, their heartache and the obvious cruelty that has gone before them as Rader continues his grisly practices unabated should give us cause to pause. Each of us needs to ask ourselves and our neighbors and friends the following:
Where is the point beyond which people will no longer disregard the dignity of the human person? And when will all of humanity begin holding that individual in such high regard that those who kill them, or perform experiments on them, which cause their death, or harvest their bodies, are put in jail for the rest of their lives because they have dared to profit using the remains of murdered preborn children?
Where is that point?