What Would You do?

Your child is sick.

Gravely ill.

You’re going through treatment after treatment and still, your child is wasting away.

The doctors aren’t sure what to try next. They tell you to prepare yourselves….What does that mean anyway? How do you prepare yourself for something like that?

Then, you are approached by a member of your child’s team.

“There is a new procedure,” he tells you. “It’s still in a trial phase but your child is an excellent candidate. We think it may work.”

“It will save him?” You ask, filled with a renewed sense of hope that you know you shouldn’t have. But you cling to it. Knowing it might be the lifeline you prayed for.

The doctors talk to you about the procedure. You listen to them but you don’t really hear them. Something about replacing the bad cells in your child’s body with new cells. You pray harder than you’ve ever prayed for a miracle.

Days go by. Nothing happens. Then slowly, you see a glimmer in your child’s eye that wasn’t there before. Are you imagining this? Then you see it again. Your spouse sees it too. It is real or just the fantasy of two parents who want desperately to save their child’s life.

The doctor visits you and listens to your child’s heart and lungs. He views the chart at the end of the bed. He places it back in its slot at the end of the bed, looks at you, and nods.

“I think we’re seeing some improvement,” he says. Over your cries of relief, he continues. “It’s too soon to tell but I’m hopeful. I’ll be back again tomorrow.”

Over the next several days, others see the improvement in your child. You begin to fantasize about taking him home, playing catch with him, arguing once again over a clean room or homework.

Then it happens, he is released. The miracle you prayed for is actually happening. Your child, while still weak, is no longer dying. He is being released and is able to come home to re-join your family.

Tell me, at this moment, do you care where these life-saving cells came from? Honestly.

I think by now you realize where I’m going with this. Maybe you’re going to stop reading, but please don’t. I know what I’m writing about is hugely controversial. But hear me out.

The story above is made up and yes, it’s extreme. And this may never happen to you. But it will happen to someone…and has.

Think back to about fifty years ago. People were terrified of this disease called Polio. Swimming pools everywhere remained empty because people feared the spread of the disease. Desperate for a cure, researchers used fetal cells from two abortions were used to create a polio vaccine, thereby eliminating this disease by 1979 and reducing the number of cases around the world to 416 in 2013.

The researchers’ discovery earned them the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1954.

Here’s the thing: The parents whose children were saved by the Polio vaccine didn’t care where the vaccine came from or how it was created. They cared about saving their own child.

Fetal tissue research is not a new thing. We’ve been using this method of research since the 1930’s. So what’s all the fuss about now, you ask?

Well, you’re only finding out about it now.

I think, given all the Pro-life activism that’s been going on lately, everyone is starting to ask questions. One of the questions is “What happens to the fetus once it’s been aborted?” A valid question. What happens to any medical waste?

Look folks, I get it. Some of us are pro-life and some of us are pro-choice. While I’m pro-choice, I understand the other side of it, thanks to my dear friend Ashley, who took the time to explain why she felt as she did. I understand the emotions behind why we feel the way we do.

But let me ask you to put aside your emotions and personal beliefs for just a moment.

Abortion is legal.

It is any woman’s right to have an abortion. You may not like it, but there it is. If you don’t like it, your job it to change the law. And by change the law, I don’t mean to bully any woman who is visiting a planned parenthood. She is doing what is her legal right.

The only way things are going to change is if you ban together and change the law. Write your senator, congressman, or representative. Pay attention when it’s voting time and vote in those who share your opinions and will change the law.

And until you succeed in changing the law, it is every woman’s right to have an abortion if she chooses to do so. And she shouldn’t be tormented, harassed or bullied for doing what is her legal right. It’s not murder. Why not? Because the law says so.

But while abortion is legal, why would we not use the tissue matter that has provn to be so clearly beneficial to the improvement of mankind simply because we don’t like how those cells were obtained? Again, they were obtained in a legal manner.

Do those of you who believe we shouldn’t use fetal tissue truly believe that this world would be a better place if polio was still paralyzing some 550,000 children each year? Haven’t we made tremendous strides using these cells? Isn’t curing a disease like Polio enough to prove its benefit?

By using fetal tissue matter, we’re gaining ground in other areas as well. Parkinson’s patients have had neuronal stem cells from fetal tissue transplanted into their brains with great success. Some patients have been healthy and functional for up to fourteen years. Fourteen years! That is long enough for a father to see his child reach adulthood – something no parent should be denied.

Fetal cells have also been transplanted into patients who suffer from paralysis or macular degeneration. The hope is that the cells will regenerate inside the patient and help those who have a spinal cord injury, or those who are losing their sight. Can you imagine if someone who was paralyzed was able to walk again?

Research has also been done using fetal tissue matter to better understand and hopefully solve certain birth defects and malformation of organs. Studies on fetal tissue has been used to assist with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the prevention of miscarriage, and the prevention of genetic diseases.

I’m sure the list of medical advancements goes on and on but I can only google so much.

The point I am trying to make is that while some of us may not like using the cells because of how they were obtained, they have, in fact, helped us with major medical advancements. And quite frankly, it’s really silly to not use something that has proven to be so beneficial to mankind simply because we don’t like the way it was obtained.

The bottom line is: would you stand on your morals if YOUR child needed the vaccine that was created from fetal tissue? Would you let your child go blind, become paralyzed or live a life riddled with Parkinson’s disease in order to prove a point? Would you let your child die if there was a life-saving vaccine created from fetal tissue?

And if you would reject that vaccine, choosing to sacrifice your own child so that you can uphold the morals you hold so dear, how does that make you pro-life?

2 Comments

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2 responses to “What Would You do?

  1. You ask many questions about a variety of issues. I’m not sure there are easy answers to any of them.

    Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it’s morally right, which raises its own question: how does one define morality? Is morality defined by culture or gender, or religion, or something else?

    Many of the people who argue that government should stay out of the pro-life, pro-choice issue are the same people who fall back on the argument that it’s legal. Why is it legal? Because some suit in Washington wrote a bill and it was voted upon and passed by government—the same government you argue should remain out of this issue.

    There is man’s law and there is God’s law, and of course the existence of a greater thinking thing—whether an anthropomorphic deity or an existential being—can be argued and debated until death takes one and one learns the definitive answer: earth to earth, dust to dust means just that; or as Christ said in the bible, “Whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” The universe didn’t just will itself into existence, and what existed before existence? Who combined the chemicals that resulted in the Big Bang?

    I’m not sure why there is such a debate over stem cell research. A zygote is treated as a non-entity, not a life; but it’s morally reprehensible to use it in research to treat disease? By aborting a zygote you take away everything it is and everything it ever will be. It’s a woman’s choice to do just that because it’s her body and a zygote, well, it’s simply a parasite because government, which has been known to be wrong, says it’s not a life before the second trimester? Who can say when a life becomes a life: when it takes its first breath? When does the spirit or soul seat itself? Again, at first breath, or at the moment of conception? Just because an idea coincides with one’s preconceived views and biases doesn’t make it truth.

    How can it be argued that a zygote is a parasite not worthy of protection by our laws let alone God’s laws, yet it should be disposed of as garbage because that’s more moral than using it to further science?

  2. Well argued. Thank you.

    I agree that bullying those who are doing what they and the law believe is right can no more be right than the argument that two wrongs make a right.

    I guess from my point of view, harvesting cells is very similar to harvesting organs. It saves lives, whatever the cause of death.

    As a mother who miscarried her first pregnancy, I’m still unsure when God bestows a soul. But I know I love my living child who could not exist had that first pregnancy gone to term. I know he has a soul.

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