Medical or chemical abortions are rapidly increasing in utilization. Women turn to drugs such as Methotrexate and Misoprostol to abort their babies because of the convenience of in-home termination of the pregnancies. Although chemical abortion has a prolonged period of negative side effects1)Medical Abortion Procedures. American Pregnancy Association. many women are turning to these drugs because in some cases they stop pregnancies before the signs of pregnancy are made known to the women.
Abortifacients are no new matter to the Pro-Life movement; scholars and medical personnel have been debating the matter for many years now. The drug levonorgestrel (Plan B) commonly used as an emergency contraceptive. However, the issue lies with the fact that it is uncertain whether this drug also has abortifacient properties. The drug prevents pregnancies in three ways: thickening the mucus of the cervix and therefore preventing sperm from reaching the uterus, preventing ovulation through hormonal therapy, and thinning the lining of the endometrial tissue in the uterus. This final effect is the matter that is disputed by many as to the ramifications the drug has on the developing fetus.
Articles for more information about the different types of abortions and reasoning against such methods can be found here.
The abortion issue is becoming increasingly segregated to a women’s issue that men should not be involved in; however, author Terrell Clemmons presents a compelling argument that men are negatively affected by abortions – heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and regret. Clemmons argues that men should be contributing to the forum of opinions surrounding abortion.2)Harm’s Way: Men, Abortion & Hemingway. Terrell Clemmons, Salvo Magazine.
Why Pro-Life? Caring for the Unborn and their Mothers by Randy Alcorn3)Why Pro-Life: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers. Randy Alcorn.
This little book deals with the issue of abortion from medical and psychological standpoint. It begins with the position that the unborn are human persons worthy of dignity from the moment of conception. The book answers many of the questions that the American society assumes the answers to, such as is the unborn a part of the mother’s’ body? Overall, this book is a fairly comprehensive book that responds to many of the questions that are asked of the Pro-Life stance.
In Vitro Fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization is part of the surging tide of Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART). This procedure is intended to assist couples that are either unable or struggling to conceive children. The woman’s egg is harvested and the sperm for the male is inserted into the egg in a lab. The resulting embryo is then cultivated for a few days before being implanted back into the uterus. Commonly, more than one blastocyst is implanted into the women because of the high likelihood of failed implantation. Several embryos are made at once, and due to the expensive nature of the procedure, most couples choose to save some of the embryos in the case that they do not implant.4)In Vitro Fertilization: IVF. American Pregnancy Association.
Although the science is amazing and in theory beneficial, there are ethical concerns surfacing in the pro-life community. In 2000, a couple with legitimate concerns for their dying 6-year old, engineered a second child in order to provide blood cells.5)“Son Conceived To Provide Blood Cells For Daughter”. The New York Times. The issue lies in the sad reality that while this couple was desperately trying to save their daughter, they genetically screened and discarded untold numbers of embryos.
From the stance that all life begins at conception, ART procedures present a problem. The discarded embryos are human beings worthy of life and protection.
As with any medical field, the area of gene editing is exploding with new information and technological advancements. The Clustered Regularly interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) gene editing method is a tool that has many scientist fascinated and excited for the future of DNA repair and replacement. Among CRISPR’s abilities is the capability to do precise genome editing. More information regarding the scientific information behind CRISPR can be found here. The new technologies has many pro-lifers asking question about the morality of such gene editing and whether such editing is just the first step toward “designer babies”6)CRISPR-It’s not just for the refrigerator anymore! Dr. Heather Kuruvilla, Cedarville University Center for Bioethics.. Additionally, in recent studies performed by Chinese scientists, the success rate for the CRISPR technology was practically non-existent. The altered strands exhibited mosaicism – a mixture of repaired and unhealthy cells. More information about this study and the implications of CRISPR technologies can be found here.
In February of 2016, the United Kingdom, passes policy that allows researchers to experiment on human embryos. Although the embryos are not allowed to be implement in the woman’s uterus, this policy diverges from the historical position of the UK toward human rights and experimentation on human embryos.7)UK scientists given go-ahead to genetically modify human embryos. Sheena McKenzie, CNN.
The allure of human cloning is prevalent in American media and fiction. However, the majority of nations – including the United States – do not allow the cloning of human embryos.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Umbilical Cord Blood
The new procedure of banking a baby’s umbilical cord is something that is not well known. Umbilical cord is rich in stem cells, which can be used to combat certain, serious diseases. Using the blood as insurance in case of illness presents no ethical issue to most people.
However, according to the European on Ethics and Science and New Technology, problems of ownership, informed consent, and commercialization of human body parts all entangle the issue. Most medical professionals do not encourage the procedure due to the high costs and the low likelihood of the cells being used.
Therefore, most ethical concerns surrounding the use of umbilical cord blood center on commercial blood banks. These banks collect umbilical cord blood and then sell it as a resource for stem cells. Not only does this devalue a human being it also is false advertisement because the medical benefits of stem cells are in many cases untested. Further information can be found here.
Notes: [ + ]
|1.||↑||Medical Abortion Procedures. American Pregnancy Association.|
|2.||↑||Harm’s Way: Men, Abortion & Hemingway. Terrell Clemmons, Salvo Magazine.|
|3.||↑||Why Pro-Life: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers. Randy Alcorn.|
|4.||↑||In Vitro Fertilization: IVF. American Pregnancy Association.|
|5.||↑||“Son Conceived To Provide Blood Cells For Daughter”. The New York Times.|
|6.||↑||CRISPR-It’s not just for the refrigerator anymore! Dr. Heather Kuruvilla, Cedarville University Center for Bioethics.|
|7.||↑||UK scientists given go-ahead to genetically modify human embryos. Sheena McKenzie, CNN.|