A Pro-Life Podcast

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BioTalk20: GMO Babies and the 2016 Election

The latest episode of BioTalk is with Dr. David Prentice of the Lozier Insititute on the world’s first GMO baby born this summer using the “3-parent IVF” method called “maternal spindle transfer”.

If not for the Aderholt amendment to the 2015 omnibus spending bill, which prohibits the Food and Drug Administration from entertaining any submission that proposes “research in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include heritable genetic modification”, that baby would have likely been manufactured in the United States.

Recommended: A Baby With 3 Parents Has Been Born. These Are the Dangers You Should Know About.

Preventing mitochondrial disease is a good and noble goal, but this is not the way to go about doing it. Allowing germ-line modification for mitochondrial replacement to proceed sets a dangerous precedent and may only be the beginning.

3-parent IVF is already being used in the Ukraine, not to treat mitochondrial disease, but general fertility treatment.

Let’s keep human genetic experimentation out of our country!

The presidential election is obviously important, but even if you’re one of the many people this time around who find yourself in the unfortunate position of feeling like you can’t vote for either major party presidential candidate, go to the polls and help elect good people to your state legislatures, Congress and other local positions. In many ways your votes there are even more important than your vote for president — in terms of actually having an impact on legislation.



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IVF Custody Wars: People Not Property

Embryo custody battles are on the rise. Except, legally speaking, they aren’t really “custody” battles — in the traditional sense of the term. They’re more like property disputes.

people-not-property.jpgIn St. Louis, Missouri Right to Life has gotten together with a few other pro-life organizations to file an amicus brief in the case of McQueen v. Gadberry in Missouri Court of Appeals.

The pro-life groups are working on behalf of Jalesia McQueen, who wants to implant and give birth to the remaining two embryos that she and her ex-husband made while they were still married. She is appealing a Trial Court ruling, which ordered that the embryos must stay frozen unless and until both parties can agree on what to do with them. They also ruled that the embryonic children are marital property — though of a “unique type,” because what one party does with them in the future (the mother) may impose unwanted obligations on the other (the father).

In the latest episode of BioTalk, Chelsea spoke with  Jim Cole, who is the General Cousel for Missouri Right to Life and who was responsible for editing much of the brief.

You can read the entire brief here.

The constant theme throughout is what is in the best interest of the (embryonic) children involved. And that is the ironic legacy of IVF: that couples are so desperate for children to love and yet concern what’s good and right for the children themselves is actually put last.

The Trial Court ruled against Jalesia McQueen obtaining and implanting her own embryos citing her ex-husband’s “right not to procreate.” Which is, of course, ludicrous, since procreation has already taken place.

Science establishes — and Missouri Law agrees — that a human being begins at fertilization. “Once procreation has occurred and human life has begun,” the brief states, “the rights and interests at issue can no longer be framed solely as the procreative or reproductive interests of the parents.”

America has a sordid history of defining certain classes of human beings as property. Let’s not go down that road again.

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CGS Newsletter: Frozen Eggs, Rented Wombs, Gene Tests and More!

The latest newsletter for the Center for Genetics and Society is out.

Lots of good stuff in here — especially about the recent decision by Facebook and Apple to offer their female employees a $20,000 benefit to freeze their eggs for later use with in vitro fertilization.

Check it out!

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• A 64 year old Chinese woman had twins through IVF in 2010. She holds the record as the oldest mother in China, having given birth at 60.

• T Maureen L. Condic explains why reprogrammed cells are not the same as embryos. Namely, they lack the ability to complete an organized development. In other words, if they were to be placed in a womb, such stem cells would create tumors, not a fetus.

• Jessica Cussins writes at the Center for Genetics and Society about the “cultural relevance” of the new Johnny Depp movie Transcendence. It’s ambiguity, she says, makes the subject matter compelling and may be what the movie gets “absolutely right” about the real-world tension created by radical biotechnologies.

• Speaking of Transcendence, if you missed it, be sure to check out the latest episode of BioTalk for more transhumanist images in popular movies and television shows. If nothing else, they help generate a conversation worth having.

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• A British woman is suing the American couple she agreed to become a surrogate for after they allegedly backed out of the deal because she is carrying twins. The couple only wanted one child and demanded that she abort one of the fetuses She refused and wants to put the twins up for adoption.

• The International Medical Travel Journal reports that Cancun is attracting attention as a hot destination for the discerning international fertility tourist – seeking in-vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donation, and surrogacy services.

• The Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, famous for cloning “Dolly” the sheep, lost a bid to get a US patent protection on their cloned animal. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that, instead of being a “product of human ingenuity,” Dolly and other cloned animals like her are just genetic copies of naturally occurring beings.

• Twin births are on the rise in the United States. Now, one out of every 30 babies born is a twin. This increase is largely due to an increase in infertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization and “ovulation stimulation medications.”

• BioEdge reports on the intensifying debate over “moral bioenhancement.” A special issue of the American Journal of Bioethics last month explores the benefits and dangers of Persson and Savulescu’s 2013 publication Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement.