Word from the Center: Friday, January 4, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.  I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s topic/issue….

The Sanctity of Life and the Sale of Fetal Tissue!

January is “Pro-Life” month around the country. The new year brings thoughts of “life possibilities” for many. With January 1 still fresh in the rear-view mirror, there is the aura of a fresh start in the hearts and minds of the people in our culture. Life indeed is a special and precious gift from God. On January19th, this positive, expansive view of life is proclaimed in our nation’s Capital in the face of its greatest challenge in our culture, the notion of abortion on demand. For years, since the tragic ruling of Roe v. Wade, the most vulnerable of our culture have been denied the basic right to life. Pre-born children have been reduced to commodities, rather than valued as human beings in the womb. Millions have lost their lives in the most horrific ways. But the good news is that many are opening their eyes to this tragedy and reaffirming the basic principle of life and its joyful, expansive possibilities for all. That’s what the “March for Life” is all about. People are coming to Washington D.C. to reaffirm life, to protect life from conception to natural death, to undergird adoption and foster care, and to support policies that undergird marriage and family. Why? Because children matter; life matters. All this month we’ll focus our attention on “Pro-Life” issues and the challenges and opportunities that they present to be faithful to God as we serve the culture in which we live.

Today we address the issue of the harvesting of fetal tissue for profit. I remember when George W. Bush was on Larry King Live talking about the harvesting of fetal stem cells for research. King asked, “Are you for it or against it?” It was a “gotcha” type question. But Bush gave a nuanced, scientific, and practical response. He said that present lines of fetal stem cells were limitless in their research capacity so there would be no need to harvest more of them from live babies in the womb. Therefore, he would not shut down present research with the stem cells already on hand, but would restrict any further harvesting from new fetal tissue. He didn’t want to create a market demand for baby parts harvested from the aborting of children. King couldn’t handle that nuanced answer and asked again, “So, are you for it or against it?” Let’s state it clearly then. As people who affirm the sanctity of all life, we are against the harvesting of fetal tissue as part of the abortion business model. Our guest columnists, Tim Goeglein and Brittany Rayment, share the present possibilities in Washington D.C. in the following article for this Friday’s reflection:

HHS Considers Ending the Sale of Aborted Fetal Tissue

It’s been over three years since David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress exposed Planned Parenthood’s alleged practice of selling aborted baby parts for profit. Despite the overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing and obviously deceptive practices, the government still continues to fund research using the aborted remains of preborn babies.

This needs to stop, and there is hope that it will end soon.

The Department for Health and Human services is considering a policy change that will defund projects that use aborted preborn baby tissue in medical research. This change, if it happens, will be a welcome relief.

There is no reason why the bodies of aborted babies should be used in medical research. There are likely other alternatives that could offer similar results without using such unethically procured tissue. Medical and scientific advancement should not come at the cost of preborn babies lost to abortion.

Earlier this year, HHS made its first move to defund these efforts by suspending a contract with Advanced Bioscience Resources, a company that works with Planned Parenthood to provide aborted baby parts for research.

Alex Azar, the Secretary of HHS, has the opportunity to end this grotesque practice and he should.

One of the strategic goals of HHS is dedicated to serving all “Americans from conception to natural death.” Despite this claim, abortion remains legal in this country. If HHS is truly interested in serving all Americans, regardless of their stage of life, then such a barbaric practice as the sale of aborted preborn tissue should end.

Tim Goeglein is the Vice President of External Relations and Government Affairs at Focus on the Family

Brittany Raymer is a life issues analyst at Focus on the Family.