Like everyone else who first saw the CNS headline, "Obama Signs Law Banning Federal Embryo Research Two Days After Signing Executive Order to OK It," I was very confused. We had people at American Life League scrambling in an effort to understand precisely what was actually going on regarding human embryonic children and their susceptibility to murder. And after a great deal of reading, reviewing and re-reading the matter began to clarify for us.
Now I think we have solved the riddle. But before we get into the details, allow me to say that there is evil afoot in all this, not to mention deception, delusional thinking, demented goals and downright dirty politics.
Federal funds cannot be used to create human embryos for research purposes and cannot be used to destroy or harm human embryos, but federal funds may be used to conduct human embryonic stem cell research as long as those stem cells were taken from human embryos killed by private sources and/or with private funding.
This is so because several years ago, two members of Congress authored what is now known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.
As someone involved with the actual writing of the original Dickey-Wicker Amendment in 1996, I understand its limited value and I understand how a devious mind could work around it. According to the Genetics and Public Policy web site,
In the United States there is no federal legislation prohibiting cloning for either reproductive or therapeutic purposes. However, under the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment it is illegal to use federal funds to support research "in which human embryos are created, destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.204 and 46.207, and subsection 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act." Moreover, the Dickey-Wicker Amendment defines a human embryo as "any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 as of the date of enactment of the governing appropriations act, that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes or human diploid cells."
In essence, then, the Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibits the use of tax dollars for the purpose of killing.
But it does not prohibit research on those human embryonic children killed with private funding. And that is where the devious details reside … by splitting hairs, Obama could have it both ways, eat his cake and have it too, or as I prefer to describe it, put himself an arm's length away for the first gruesome act of killing so he can authorize funding for the second grisly act of using human embryonic cells to advance the work of those who refuse to acknowledge their own failure.
When the New York Times reported on Obama's executive order a couple of days ago, they made a rather astute observation. Yes, I did say that the New York Times was perceptive because you have to give the devil his due. At any rate, the editorial began by stating
No sooner had President Obama lifted the Bush-era restrictions on financing embryonic stem cell research than critics began urging that any federal support be limited to work with stem cells derived from surplus embryos at fertility clinics. That would be a mistake. The guidelines should define the eligible research as broadly as possible to allow the greatest potential for advances.
This is an astute observation because the New York Times is not being disingenuous; it is being brutally honest, which is more than one can say for the shrewd plotters within the Obama camp. The New York Times wants no limits on the killing of human embryonic children, and as you can see, discusses these human beings as if they were french fries left over from lunch at the local deli.
Isn't it a shame that throughout this discussion, that has occupied many hours of reporting over the past week, very few have pinpointed the obvious fact that to kill one innocent person for the sake of allegedly helping another innocent person is gravely immoral and must never be done under any circumstance?
Note, for example, the comments of Republican Congressman Mike Castle, who relegates the Dickey-Wicker Amendment to the trash heap of history in the way one might toss out an outdated suit coat, "[t]hat was passed in 1996, before we realized the full potential of embryonic stem cell research. Some researchers are telling us now that that needs to be reversed."
But you know what? The end game in all this is never addressed, and perhaps it won't be since the vast majority of politicians favor winning over moral principle. The sad fact is that regardless of who is paying for the research or who is doing the research, the practice is going to move forward and it is going to grow unless and until America bites the bullet and moves to ban in vitro fertilization, period!
The Catholic Church has warned from the early days before the practice began to yield freezer children, octo-moms and the like, that nothing good would come of this practice.
As John Shea, M.D. wrote
Pope John XXIII taught that since the "transmission of human life is entrusted by nature to a personal conscious act, and as such, is subject to the all-holy laws of God," in assisted human procreation " …one cannot use means and follow methods that could be licit in the transmission of the life of plants and animals." The Church has condemned in vitro fertilization between husband and wife (homologous in vitro fertilization) because it is in itself illicit, and in opposition to the dignity of procreation and of the conjugal union. It has also condemned in vitro fertilization in which sperm or ovum of a third person is used (heterologous in vitro fertilization) because, in addition, it violates the reciprocal commitment of the spouses and shows a grave lack of regard for that essential property of marriage which is unity. Furthermore, it deprives the child of her or his filial relationship with parental origins, can hinder the maturing of personal identity, can damage personal relationships within the family, and has repercussions on civil society.
In vitro fertilization is neither in fact achieved nor positively willed as an expression and fruit of a specific act of conjugal union. The human embryo is treated as a product of technology and not as a gift of God. In its use and in the use of many other techniques of genetic engineering, a human person is objectively deprived of his or her proper perfection. Such fertilization establishes the domination of technology over the origin or destiny of the person. This domination is contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children. Therefore, in vitro fertilization is morally unacceptable.
Obviously one of those "repercussions on civil society" is the debate regarding who pays for the murder of the embryonic child versus who gets to use his or her body parts. How much more utilitarian can it get?
When will our fellow human beings wake up and see this tragedy for what it really is?
At its core, and regardless of alleged safeguards such as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, as long as artificial reproductive technologies are practiced, human embryonic children will be slaughtered. As Shea explains
The whole truth is that the immediate product of fertilization or cloning is a cell, but it is also a single cell organism, a human being, and a human person. In short, in order to prevent research on human embryos from occurring, in vitro fertilization by all methods must be generically prohibited in both public and private domains by law. It is not enough simply to oppose abortion and research on human embryos. If we are ever to succeed in outlawing those two crimes against humanity, we must lay the axe to the root of the tree. We must vigorously and persistently oppose contraception (both surgical and chemical) and all forms of in vitro formation of human embryos, both by fertilization and by all [other] techniques.
Send that message to your local congressman, stand back and watch the dust fly. Being a politician who is "pro-life" has become a political gambit with no moral teeth! If I were wrong, at least one member of Congress would have already echoed Dr. Shea's accurate statement within the last couple of days.