August 4, 1992
Have we lost our ethical and moral minds? One would wonder after reading the summaries of two article placed beside each other in a magazine called Current Thoughts and Trends.
The first article is called FETAL TISSUE: THE NEW CANNIBALISM. It is about a bill under consideration by the American Senate that would force the national health institutes to finance fetal tissue transplants “harvested” from babies killed by induced abortions. The rationale behind such a move is that sufferers from diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s would be saved. The gruesome side of it is this tissue must be fresh — so the fetuses must be removed from the womb while alive, then killed for their valuable parts.
The other article is about a baby named Theresa who was born without a brain and had no hope of living. Her anguished parents decided to request she be declared legally dead so her vital organs could be donated to other babies needing transplants. Their request was declined — on the basis that “it would open the door to regarding the sick as just collections of spare parts.” When Theresa died only 18 days after being born, her organs had deteriorated to the point of being useless for transplants.
One does not have to be Christian or even a believer in God to wonder what is the criteria for establishing who is fair game and what are the rules donating spare parts. According to both these stories, the donor must be healthy not sick, yet must also be doomed to die anyway. This second criteria demands further inspection.
It is not uncommon for an adult to donate their organs for medical purposes when they realize they only have a few months to live. Of course such donors are allowed to die before their organs are removed, even if they are criminals who have received a death sentence for crimes committed.
Sometimes relatives or persons with compatible tissue-type donate kidneys to others whose corresponding organs have failed because their own survival does not depend on having two kidneys, but all other tissue donors are dead when the tissue is removed.
Yet this rule is abandoned for the so-called blob of tissue called a fetus even though this creature is obviously alive or its organs would have no value. Nor is the fetus usually sick. Malformed or otherwise imperfect fetuses are aborted but most abortions are not for that reason. Rather, someone has decided this living mass of tissue must die and there is no choice on the part of the donor. Furthermore, the fetus does not die before its brains and pancreas are removed (without anaesthesia) but after — because it has lost organs it cannot live without.
Contrast the situation of Baby Theresa. Even though she would soon die, her parents wanted to bring meaning to her short existence — life to others because she had lived. Instead “science” would not allow even that.
Something stinks. If unborn human tissue is simply a “blob” (never mind that it is alive and able to pass on life to others), science does not mind devaluing “it” by using the spare parts before killing it — but add two to five months and that same “blob” cannot donate any tissue. It must die along with anyone else it might save.
God gave life purpose: He told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Yet the same God also gave death purpose: He sent His Son to die, a mission that the Son willingly accepted because through His death others would gain life.
In our God-playing it seems we have a few things backwards.