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Reproductive BioEthical, Jigsaws, Part 2
by William E. Cripe, Sr.
Bill Cripe is senior pastor at Faith Evangelical Free Church in Waterville, Maine. He maintains ASCP certification as a registered medical technologist and has been AIIA’s Resource Associate for Social and Ethical Issues since April, 2000.
Is prenatal testing wrong?
Is prenatal surgery to correct congenital defects wrong?
Is prenatal genetic engineering to combat disease or determine baby features okay?
Is the harvesting of eggs from one woman to be used for egg donation to another (infertile) woman wrong?
See also our reply to the first two questions in this 2-part series (Nov 05 issue).
Would parthenogenesis (manipulating a woman’s egg to produce a one-parent pregnancy) be wrong?
Would developing chimeras (humans with animal genes useful as research models) be okay? Scientists at the Shanghai Medical University fused human cells with rabbit eggs over two years ago. But chimeric genetics is more than just humans possessing animal genes. Through chimeric genetics it is theoretically possible to create a male/female hybrid, or even a human with the limbs of a lion. Scientists at Stanford plan (or maybe already have created) a mouse with a human brain under the guise that the more humanlike an animal is, the better the research subject it makes. Remember, chimera is the name of a monster from Greek mythology. Do we really have to ask if this is wrong? Unfortunately we do.
Issues raised by advances in medical technology stretch our moral maturity. Here are three truths for framing current and future considerations:
1) The push for embryonic stem cell research is far more political than scientific. To date, it’s adult stem cells that have shown the real promise.
2) Genes alone are not all-determinative. Identical twins are technically clones but still not exactly identical.
3) For moral people the ability to do certain things does not necessarily imply permission to perform them.
Without the God of wisdom we will surely become like those at the tower of Babel whose ability to do wondrous things, while ignoring the will of God, became repugnant to God.
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