Older Posts

Small lives

The fundamental relationship of all human life – that between mother and child – is what is at stake in issues like cloning and abortion, and with the desecration of that relationship goes the degradation of our culture.

Posts on the subject of ‘small lives’ will come under the two headings of “embryos and cloning” and “babies and abortion”, linked to the main ‘search’ categories at the left.

EMBRYOS & CLONING

My two blogs as director of Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research cover the issues of embryo experimentation and cloning, and are incorporated as posts on this site (excluding guest posts) – hence the references at times to ‘our association’… The first blog “Conscience v con science” covered the year leading up to the cloning vote in 2006; the second, current blog is alive and well at www.ethicalstemcellresearch.blogspot.com.au and celebrates the demise of that inhuman and unnecessary science and the rise of the ethical alternatives in iPSCs and adult stem cells.

My first awareness and involvement in a “public issue” was in 1985 at university when I became aware of the proposal to allow experimentation on IVF embryos and Senator Brian Harradine’s private member’s Bill to oppose it. The 1985 proposal went nowhere, but eighteen years later, in 2003, the ethical line was crossed allowing living embryos – ‘surplus’ ones from IVF’ – to be exploited as research material. The predicted, yet still unthinkable, step came in 2006, when embryonic humans were allowed to be created by cloning with the explicit purpose of experimenting on them and destroying them – these are a new laboratory race of human young, abused artefacts not beloved offspring. To read more about this shameful episode in science, and the astonishing twist in the tale which has seen cloning rendered redundant by a superior and ethically trouble-free technique, you might read my full review article at Quadrant magazine, November 2011.

BABIES & ABORTION

My involvement in this saddest of all issues has been since at least 1994, when a physician colleague asked me to take on the leadership of a group of doctors in Queensland, the state branch of the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life. This group was founded in the seventies by Prof Jerome le Jeune (pictured) – the geneticist who discovered the chromosomal basis of Downs’ syndrome and devoted much of his life to the wellbeing of children and adults affected by this condition.

Late in 1994 I was given the lecture notes by Dr David Grundmann from a conference at Monash University run by Peter Singer, and in that lecture he described his now-notorious justifications and methods for late-term abortion. The challenge was to bring the matter to public notice through Parliament, public petitions, writing and lobbying. Subsequent meetings with Dr Grundmann at an AMA Queensland enquiry into his practice and sitting alongside him on SBS TV ‘Insight’, have added to my understanding of the mind of a doctor who can justify puncturing and ‘decompressing’ the skull of struggling half-born babies – some even healthier and older than those in our hospital nurseries. Many expressed concern about this practice, but nothing effective was done to stop it.

Such is the state of impotence in our abortion statutes, and such is the political paralysis over abortion, that nothing is done to stop such ‘medical procedures’ and such suffering for these little babies – even with a technique described by the Supreme Court of the USA as “gruesome, inhumane, and never medically indicated”… As of 2008 the State of Victoria explicitly approved these abortions “on demand” to 24 weeks, and upon the colluding nod of two doctors thereafter to a full nine months. As of 2011, the pressure has been applied to bring similar laws into my state of Queensland; an article I wrote in the Courier Mail in December 2011 in opposition to this is HERE. This can be bookended with the Quadrant article from 1995 (republished in 1998 in the Human Life Review, NY) HERE, during which lapse of time some 1.5 million Australian babies have been aborted, an entire primary school worth of children every day, largely funded by the unwitting taxpayer.

Then there is the ‘other death’ of abortion, the deadening effect it can have on too many women – many of whom were rushed or pressured into one course of action, where a simple show of support and understanding as to ‘other courses of action’ might have made all the difference. And according to the largest review of the mental health consequences of abortion – see BLOG – a full 10% of the burden of mental health problems in adult females can be attributed to this widespread phenomenon of induced abortion.

One needs the wisdom of Solomon to approach such a topic with the right balance of justice and understanding: the justice that affirms that adults must not take the life of their young – while accepting they probably will anyway – and the gentle understanding of how, for so many young people with such limited resources, it is all ‘too hard’… Still, the power of encouragement and ongoing support should not be underestimated, and that remains the task. Toowoomba’s beautiful ‘Emily’s Voice‘, with its encouraging and real-life ads (e.g. “I coped. You can too”) is one way that task is being undertaken.

Older Articles
Click HERE for more articles from ~ 1995...
Some Videos
STEM CELLS & EMBRYOS: ABC LATELINE AUGUST 2002 SURROGACY: KERRI-ANNE SHOW JANUARY 2011 SBS INSIGHT ON GAY MARRIAGE 2013 (see post Aug 15 2013) EUTHANASIA & THE 'DUTY TO DIE', 2014 THE HARMS OF HOMOSEXUAL 'MARRIAGE', 2014 ABORTION - 'the silent innocence of the unborn', 2014 SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: SYDNEY UNI 2012 (start 2min20) SURROGACY BILL QLD JANUARY 2010
Tweets!