BioTalk

A Pro-Life Podcast


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BioTalk18: Self-Regulation Science Doesn’t Work

Scientists love to give themselves “ethical guidelines” — only to “reevaluate” and revise those guidelines when they are no longer convenient.

A perfect recent example of this came this May when scientists in two separate studies reported keeping embryos alive, healthy and developing for 12-13 days. In both studies the embryos grew autonomously and began processes that lead to organ development.

This was significant because for decades international policy has limited embryo research to the first two weeks of development. Until now there had never been reports of anyone cultivating in vitro human embryos past seven to nine days.

Now scientists are calling for an extension of the 14-day rule.

When the International Society for Stem Cell Research updated its stem cell research guidelines to include human embryo gene editing, the journal Nature reported:

The authors hope that the updated guidelines will allay various ethical concerns, and avoid the need for strict government regulations that could impede the progress of science.

“Self-regulation is the best form of regulation,” says Charles Murry, a member of the committee that updated the guidelines, and a bioengineer at the University of Washington in Seattle. “The biomedical community is best poised to strike the balance between rapid progress and safe, ethical research practice.”

The sad thing is, even when governments do decide to form policy regulating research, it’s often only the scientists they want to hear from.

In the latest episode of BioTalk, Dr. David Prentice and I discuss the need for more than just scientists to be involved in public policy discussions regarding human-embryo experimentation.

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(If either embed does not work click for direct links to: video, audio)

The conversation has become too quiet

Yes, when forming policy, it is important to hear from “the experts”, but you also need to hear from everyone else who might be a stakeholder. And when we start talking about human genetics and the future of the human race we’re all stakeholders — and we should not neglect or be afraid to speak up.

Cloning and embryo experimentation may not be major news these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s not being done.

Unfortunately, the conversation has become too quiet lately, especially among pro-lifers.

10 years ago the “great stem cell debate” was raging, now all pro-life news and information I see is almost exclusively about abortion and euthanasia. Rarely do I see anything about cloning come across my feeds, and when I do it’s often accompanied by outdated arguments about embryonic vs. adult stem cells, etc…

I want to again remind you of something Zachery Gappa said last year in an article encouraging pro-lifers to take some time to learn more about bioethics:

Pro-lifers will lose the next stage of this argument unless they become more informed. The graphic abortions we have known over the past few decades will soon be largely a thing of the past, but we may be killing more unborn children than ever before.

As Dr. Prentice pointed out, “We always talk about the horrific loss of life in abortion in the U.S. since 1973, and we’re up to somewhere around 55 million young lives lost. I think we’re probably in that same neighborhood with human embryo research and the destruction of those human lives.”

And this research is roughly 10 years younger than legalized abortion.

The Brave New World may soon be upon us, whether we like it or not, but let’s not watch it advance without putting up a fight!

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BioTalk14: Stem Cell Debate Not Dead Yet

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On the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009, Dr. Oz declared that the stem cell debate was effectively “over”. He explained that embryonic stem cells were harder to control and touted the then brand new discovery of induced pluripotent (Ips) stem cells.

I know many in the pro-life movement who agree with Dr. Oz’ assessment and, in many ways, he was right. In terms of regenerative medicine, embryonic stem cells continue to be out-performed by their adult counterparts. And even Ips cells, as relatively new as the research is compared to ESCR, are showing much more promise.

That being the case, coupled with the fact that many high-profile scientists have abandoned cloning/ESCR for Ips cells, and certainly after the announcement a few years ago that one of the largest biotech companies in the US, and the first to start trials using embryonic derived stem cells in human patients was dumping its embryonic stem cell research program altogether, it’s tempting to think that the stem cell debate is, in fact, over.

But I’m afraid we may have gotten a little too ahead of ourselves here.

In the latest episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and I discuss why the stem cell debate is far from over.

The explosive Center for Medical Progress videos have exposed the market in aborted baby tissue/body parts to the general public and put heavy pressure on State and Federal politicians to defund and investigate PP for their role as a fetal tissue supplier.

But let’s not stop there!

We need to stop using tissue from abortion in research. The longer this remains a common, legal practice, the more the scientific community drives the demand for aborted fetal body parts — and what happens when the demand outweighs the supply?

In one video, Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress, already admitted that they were working with “almost like triple digit number clinics (not all PP) and we still need more.”

We should be treating this much like we treated the embryonic stem cell debate 10 years ago — putting pressure on 1. lawmakers to defund and outlaw this research and 2. scientists to pursue ethical alternatives. If we do not, we risk ending up with a medical system that is inextricably linked to the abortion industry.


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BioTalking With Dr. David Prentice

At the National Right to Life Convention last summer Chelsea caught up with Dr. David Prentice, former Senior Fellow for Life Sciences at Family Research Council now Vice President and Research Director with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, and chatted with him a bit about the current status of the great “stem cell debate”, how scientists are tinkering with human life these days and what, if any, positive signs he sees for trying to stop this train at some point.

Only audio this time: