December 30, 2006

Murder For Stem Cells

A chilling article by Ryan Anderson, Murdered to Order, brings to light the practice of infanticide in the Ukraine, for the purpose of extracting and selling stem cells.

The Drudge Report recently highlighted a shocking story from the BBC that centered on "disturbing video footage" of "dismembered tiny bodies." "Healthy new-born babies" in the Ukraine, "the self-styled stem cell capital of the world," have allegedly been killed "to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells."

Apparently this isn't an isolated problem. The Council of Europe "describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate." Imagine the horror of young mothers who "gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff." What happened to these newborns was anybody's guess, but recent footage obtained by the BBC may provide insight into their fate: "The pictures show organs, including brains, have been stripped--and some bodies dismembered."

The BBC report comes as a complete shock to most readers. But to those steeped in biotech news and bioethical literature, the latest out of the Ukraine is only a partial shock. While no one expected baby-snatching in maternity wards, it seemed inevitable that the business of stem cell research would, at some point, produce an abomination of this kind.

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... the public arguments are always made that human embryos merit a certain amount of respect and dignity--even if killing is still acceptable--and that the choice to destroy embryonic human beings is always made reluctantly, with the hope that new technologies will soon be developed that make their destruction unnecessary.

Now, however, we are seeing more and more clearly that this is all a hoax. Sure, people like Princeton's Peter Singer have argued for a long time in defense of infanticide. But no one ever considered infanticide a real possibility; Singer's arguments always seemed to be an eccentric intellectual exercise. Recent developments abroad and at home, however, force us to reconsider. Sadly, the BBC report out of the Ukraine is just the latest in a long line of startling developments in this trend.

Posted by dan at December 30, 2006 2:28 PM