Comment and information on timely matters.

60 Minutes (7-8-11) ran a story about ‘cutting edge’ treatments for spinal injuries.  Australian participants, such as Josh Clift and Amanda Boxtel, travelled to the Shepherd Clinic in the USA where they underwent intense physiotherapy to make the most of, and improve, the remaining function they had.

Josh has been able to regain the leg muscle mass that he had in his football playing days.  Suspended over a treadmill, Josh is working hard to improve the limited leg movement he has.

The story then moves to the formal trial the Shepherd Clinic is conducting using stem cell injections as a mechanism to curing and overcoming spinal injuries.  Peter Overton, the 60 Minutes interviewer, states, “Dr Donald Leslie is supervising some of the first formal tests on the controversial science of taking cells from a human embryo and injecting them into a patient. It’s already worked on paralysed rats.”  

At least they are honest enough to state that the stem cells are taken from human embryos.  One can only assume that the end of the statement stating, “It’s already worked on paralysed rats,” is referring to the shonky experiment by Alan Trounson a few years ago which has since been debunked as fraudulent. (http://www.newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=1133)

The first and only reason that matters against using embryonic stem cells is that a tiny human being has to lose his/her life in order for those stem cells to be removed.  It is ethically and morally wrong to destroy one unborn human life (albeit the tiniest of humans at the earliest stage of development) in order to repair or restore function to a born human. 

A second reason against using embryonic stem cells is none – not one – of the breakthroughs in treatments or cures to date have come from embryonic stem cells.  

Adult stem cells on the other hand have numerous runs on the board in the areas of treatments and cures.  Adult stem cells can be harvested from the patient or close relative either from bone marrow, fat cells, and numerous other areas including the umbilical cord after a baby has been born.  The obtaining of these adult stem cells doesn't involve the destruction of a developing baby.  Embryonic stem cells remain unproven in animals and unusable in humans – for reasons such as tumour formation – while our own adult stem cells are safely used in many human conditions.

We need to ask the question: Why the unthinking push and promotion of embryonic stem cells when they have an utterly dismal and dangerous record compared to adult stem cells?  False hope is being given to these young Australians seeking a cure of their conditions.  

An old expression comes to mind, “Never do evil (the killing of an unborn human) that (a hoped-for) good may come of it.”

Many of you may well have come across the Serenity Prayer — “Lord, grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  

It seems acceptance wasn’t to play a role in the thinking of 44 year old Marissa Evans.  Rather than accepting that due to her son’s early demise, it was no longer possible for her to become a grandmother as he had not sired any children prior to his life-support being turned off.

The foremost thought on Evans’ mind when her 21-year-old son lay in hospital on life support, was to harvest her son’s sperm!  She is divorced and has hand-picked an egg donor to create an embryo to be implanted in a surrogate, according to a report on www.bioedge.org

And what led her to think along those lines?  Apparently a week before her son was involved in a bar brawl causing a devastating brain injury and necessitating life support, mother and son had discussed what a “good dad” he would make and what a “great grandmother” Marissa would make at some point in the future.  One week later, as doctors suggested turning off his life-support, his mother was thinking about turning that conversation into reality.

Ms Evans appealed at the Guy Herman Probate Court in Travis County for the right to harvest her son’s sperm as she “wanted a grandchild.”  Neither the judge nor anyone else objected.  "I definitely know I'm doing the right thing," she said.  Seems that Evans is also lacking wisdom as to what is right and what is wrong.

Her ex-husband is totally against Ms Evans’ decision creating this sick situation — if all goes according to Evans’ plan, a baby with be born of an already-deceased father and a non-existent mother.  How will that child feel about this as the full circumstances not just of his/her creation, but of the harvesting of the sperm of his/her dying “father”?

For mothers with unwanted babies, adoption is now being promoted as the “golden option”.  Why?  Possibly because Europe is staring down the barrel of a population demographic nightmare thanks in part to abortion.  Combined with an aging population with people now living longer, there simply won't be enough taxpayers to keep the continent going.

As disclosed in the previous Cherish Life newsletter, the European fertility rate is substantially below the level of 2.1 children that is required to maintain a stable population.

As noted in the Daily Mail article (6.7.11), the politicians have now put pressure on the country's social workers to end their decades of hostility to adoption and to scrap racial rules when it comes to allocating children to adoptees.  People over 40 will no longer be barred from adopting.  With this recent development, adoption is merely one of many options available to a mother, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Whilst the Daily Mail article suggests adding adoption as a third option alongside abortion, Cherish Life Queensland Inc stands firm that abortion is not an option and we in no way condone abortion under any circumstance.

Italy’s lower house has passed a bill which makes it illegal to withdraw nutrition and hydration (food and water) from comatose patients in most cases – reported by http://www.bioedge.org/ 15 July 2011.

“The Advance Directives Bill bans euthanasia and assisted suicide and specifies that patients should not be denied food and hydration. Treatment can only be stopped if hydration and nutrition are no longer effective "in giving the patient the nutritional factors necessary for physiological functions of the body,” reported the article.  The legislation "recognizes and protects human life as inviolable" and guarantees the right to life "in the terminal phase of life and in the event that the person is no longer capable of understanding and volition until his death is confirmed,” is read.

It is heartening to see written into this bill that doctors will also be obliged to inform patients that euthanasia is not an option.  The margin for passing the bill in a secret ballot was as follows:  278 yes votes, 205 no votes and 7 abstentions.  

While it is great that the normal right and expectation of being given the basics of life, food and water, when one is very ill or in a comatose state, it is a pathetic state of affairs where what was once considered normal care and mere common sense has now had to be legislated into practice.

Martin Sheen is pro-lifeA report on LifeNews.com (14.4.11) covers an interview with Martin Sheen where he explains his pro-life views.  As it turns out, Janet, his wife of almost 5 decades (they celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary in late 2011), was born the product of a rape.  No doubt Sheen has reflected on this many times over the years, of how much poorer his life would have been without her.

Marrying young and with children arriving in quick succession, Sheen explains that when Janet found she was pregnant with their fourth child, she “didn’t quite know what to do.”  

And here is the crux of the story — the major point where the counselling Janet received all those years ago is oh, so very different in most instances from what young women receive today.  The counsellor said, “Well, you have children, you have three very healthy children.  How do you feel about them?” Janet responded, “Oh, I love them to bits.”

“Well then,” the therapist answered back, “that’s your choice, isn’t it.  You know what you’re giving up.”  Sheen adds, “And that was all she needed, she knew, and she had the child (Renée, their youngest daughter).”

Sadly today, many unexpectedly pregnant women and girls are told what they are carrying in their wombs and innately know is human, a baby, their child, is merely a “product of conception”, a “clump of cells”, and every effort is made to make sure they are not thinking of their unborn child as a child!