It seems impossible to draw a hard line in the sand and say "This is when life begins." Conception? Birth? Most people think it's sometime in between. Via Matt D. (and via talk radio this morning on the way to work), here's an article in the Independent about using eggs from dead female unborn babies (or fetuses, if you prefer) to conceive children. Thus, someday a child will be created whose mother was never born.
Scientists announced yesterday that they have been able to remove immature ovaries from four-month-old foetuses. The theory is that they can then be stimulated in the test tube to go through the later stages of development before the creation of fully mature eggs.
Look, science can do a lot of things, but just because something is possible doesn't mean that it should be done. I hate to succumb to Godwin's Law so early in this post, but Nazis performed all sorts of interesting medical experiments on Jews and other concentration camp prisoners, but just because they gathered new data and made scientific discoveries doesn't mean that their "research" was justified. No one likes falling back on the Nazi argument, but it's an argument of extremes; if a position can be used to justify creating babies from the eggs of aborted babies, then such a position can be used to justify just about anything.
Françoise Shenfield, an ethicist at University College London and a former member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, also voiced concerns about where this sort of research was leading.
"I would be very troubled by this not only for ethical reasons but for psychological reasons, because what is the public going to think about where the eggs come from?" Dr Shenfield said. ...
"The authority does not consider the use of tissue from this source to be acceptable for infertility treatment. But the authority does allow the use of foetal material to produce eggs for research provided that it is taken only with full, explicit consent," she said.
Roger Gosden, a leading fertility specialist working at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Virginia, said the ethical issues centre on the issue of informed consent - the foetus cannot give its consent.
Yeah well, aborted babies don't give consent either, so what's the difference? Again, see Nazi Germany for reference. The whole issue is disgusting to me, as are the people involved.