Yesterday, as I was mulling over the arguments about stem-cell research on human embryos, I had the most bone-chilling “revelation” I have had in years:

I realized that the real agenda in this debate is the defeat of the pro-life movement in America and around the world. If we lose this battle, we would not make abortion illegal in our lifetime, and perhaps not for generations to come.

This is not hyperbole. You’ve undoubtedly heard that stem cell research might unlock a cure for cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, leukemia, and many other diseases. From the onset, let me state that this is a theory. Thus far, no human beings have been cured of their diseases by embryonic stem-cell research.

Here is how the theory goes: Your body has 210 different types of tissue: bone tissue, brain tissue, cartilage, skin, etc. A stem cell contains within it the “biological tools” to produce these different tissues. Scientists hope to take stem cells and direct their growth – brain tissue for an Alzheimer’s victim, or bone marrow for a leukemia victim. Doctors would then introduce the new healthy tissue into the patient’s body in hopes of curing the disease.

If this process were to live up to the claims of its proponents, it would be the greatest medical breakthrough since the discovery of antibiotics.

Here’s what you must understand: This is all still in the theory stage. Some preliminary work has been done in laboratories with stem cells from mice. The findings with mice, which are still in early stages, do not necessarily indicate that the theories will work with human beings. (If you want to learn more, go to StemCellResearch.org.)

The debate

The debate in the press is over research on stem cells taken from human embryos. Scientists have obtained these tiny human beings from fertility clinics. These embryos were conceived as a part of different couples’ efforts to have children via in vitro fertilization. After being conceived, the embryos were frozen. For whatever reasons, their parents have chosen to abandon or discard them. Scientists have obtained these embryos, are experimenting on them and are killing them in the process.

Perhaps you have heard of the growing number of couples who are adopting these frozen embryos. The embryo is implanted into the adoptive mother’s womb, then carrying the child to term. On July 17, two children adopted and then born in this manner were brought with their parents to testify before Congress. It was obvious to everyone that these one-time frozen, potentially-to-be “discarded” embryos were in fact precious human beings.

When listening to scientists’ stories and the embellishments of the press, many people are under the impression that the only place a stem cell can be obtained is from a human embryo. That is simply a lie.

Stem cells can be obtained from an adult’s fatty tissue; you or I can donate our own stem cells for research. These are called “adult stem cells.” Stem cells can also be obtained from placentas, umbilical cords and miscarriages. Many scientists have declared that the most promising results in stem cell research have in fact come from adult stem cells, not embryos. When using an adult stem cell, no human being has to die.

Right now, however, the debate is focusing on stem cells harvested from human embryos. Polls show that the vast majority of Americans currently favor this practice. Many so-called pro-life politicians have jumped on the bandwagon and have stated their support of federal funding for research on stem cells taken from human embryos. It appears to me that many pro-lifers are unaware of the devastating implications of this debate.

Even as I write, the Bush administration is being lobbied from the left and the right to federally fund stem-cell research on human embryos. Originally, Bush declared he would oppose such funding. Now he is waffling and is reconsidering his position.

Let us hope that in his meeting with Pope John Paul II, where he undoubtedly heard the truth, his conscience was pricked, and pray he will now have the courage to defend all innocent human life.

The threat

Now I come to the crux of this my argument: If we lose the debate on stem-cell research using human embryos, we will lose the pro-life war for decades. Abortion will not be made illegal in our lifetime and maybe not for generations to come in our country or around the world. That will result in the destruction of hundreds of millions of innocent human lives created in the image of God.

Roughly 20 percent of America is “hard-core” pro-life. Roughly 20 percent of America is “hard-core” pro-abortion. The rest of America is in the “mushy middle.” Polls show that most of the “mushy middle” believes abortion is murder, or manslaughter, or the taking of a human life, or that it is an ethically wrong choice. They find abortion distasteful, would rather not talk about it, and if someone they knew got pregnant and wanted an abortion, they would probably disapprove, but would be supportive of the “woman’s decision.” (I know this is an intellectually and ethically schizophrenic position to hold, but welcome to America.)

If a new political/cultural wave (like Operation Rescue in the late 1980s and early ’90s) arose to make abortion illegal, the “mushy middle” would do little or nothing to stop it. On the contrary, the “mushy middle’s” inherent belief that abortion is unwarranted killing would help them go along with the political mood of the hour – the same role the majority of Americans played in the abolition of slavery in the 1860s or the civil rights movements of the 1960s. The individuals of the “mushy middle” right now have little or no personal interest in the legalized destruction of human beings.

If the “mushy middle” buys the argument that innocent human embryos must be destroyed to obtain a cure for a disease that they or one of their loved ones has, that “mushy middle” will no longer be in the grandstand watching the battle; they will have a highly emotional, personal interest in this fight. They will want innocent humans to be used and if necessary, destroyed in the hope that their death would stop their suffering or that of a loved one.

Remember, nearly 120 million people suffer from a disease that the press is saying might be cured with the stem cells from human embryos. We know that at this point the cures are phantom theories at best, but if those 120 million people and their loved ones have even a glimmer of hope that their disease might be cured and their suffering ended by the use of a “blob of cells” stored in a freezer, they will suddenly have a vested interest in the destruction of that human life.

Let me press the point further. If the pro-abortion press convinces the “mushy middle” that the destruction of human embryos is necessary to find a cure for Grandma’s Alzheimer’s or Aunt Millie’s cancer or their daughter’s leukemia or their own liver disease, the “mushy middle” that currently respects the pro-life cause will turn against the pro-life movement like a rabid dog.

The politics

For abortion to be made illegal in America, we need a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution. That is a political reality. A Human Life Amendment, by definition, must state clearly that human life begins at conception and must be protected by law from conception onward. If the general public and the politicians in office believe the propaganda that human embryos must be destroyed in order to cure disease and end human suffering, then our battle for the Human Life Amendment is lost before we even begin. Abortion will not be made illegal.

The press will paint the pro-life movement and any Human Life Amendment as being against research. Our enemies will scoff at us and say that pro-lifers care more about “frozen embryos” that are “discarded and unwanted” in fertility clinics than we care about the suffering of our loved ones.

They will show film footage of the tortured suffering of a little girl with leukemia or the actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, and then they will show film footage of an “angry pro-lifer” with a picket sign saying we need to protect human embryos. The viewer will also be led to believe that the embryo pro-lifers want to protect holds the key to his or his family member’s healing. The viewer will then be led to think of how the hard-hearted pro-lifers stand in the way of progress and healing. He now has a target for his pain and anger – the pro-life movement.

For the first time since Roe vs. Wade, the “mushy middle” will become advocates of death, and the adversaries of the pro-life cause. They will fight against a Human Life Amendment that would harm the “research” they think they so desperately need. At that point, barring a miracle (which God has at His disposal) or some incredible adult stem-cell breakthrough which the press accurately reports, I believe the hope of making abortion illegal again in our lifetime will be shattered.

The heirs of Hitler

The cultural pressure and our enemies’ reasoning are already bearing horrifying political fruit. So-called pro-life politicians like Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bill Frist (both Republicans) have openly declared their support for destroying human embryos in the name of science and research.

Let me state this clearly: You cannot be pro-life and be in favor of destroying an innocent human life.

Anybody who says that they are pro-life and also says that they favor the destruction of a human embryo for so-called science is either lying or genuinely deceived. It would be like saying “I am opposed to killing Jews in concentration camps, except when those Jews are being used in experiments that might cure a terrible disease.”

The promoters of embryonic stem cell research are in fact the ethical heirs of Nazi medical practices and rhetoric, i.e. those that are unwanted or discarded can be used for experimentation for the benefit of others. Similarly, the communist Chinese regularly harvest the organs of prisoners on “death row,” after or even before they have been executed.

Let’s go one step further. Once people have become accustomed to the destruction of innocent human life in the name of science and healing, we are only a small step away from creating an artificial uterus where these “unwanted” embryos could be grown to five or six months gestation when their organs or body tissue could be harvested and utilized with a wider range of results. Or, a woman could “rent out” her uterus; the embryo could be grown to six or seven months and then removed with a partial-birth-abortion. The baby’s body parts could then be harvested, sold, etc.

For anyone who may think that this is an unreasonably ghoulish projection down the “slippery slope,” let me ask you a question: When the first pro-abortion law was signed in the late 1960s in California, allowing abortion only in cases of rape, incest and the life and health of the mother, who would have predicted the ghoulish practice of partial-birth-abortion? Furthermore, some abortion mills already harvest and sell the organs of babies they have aborted.

If President Bush caves in to the pressure of the death movement and the embryonic research rhetoric, he will have proven that he is not pro-life. Worst yet, he will have helped entrench the death industry for decades. Saying, “I am pro-life,” means little; it is our actions that help or hurt the innocent. Sen. Orrin Hatch is not pro-life. Sen. Bill Frist is not pro-life. Someone cannot be pro-life and be in favor of destroying innocent human life.

Let me clearly state that the pro-life community is pro-research. We, like any human being, would love to see tragic, currently incurable diseases become as non-threatening as an ear infection. However, we can be pro-research without violating the sixth commandment “You shall not murder.”

Our position is clear and unalterable: We do not need human victims to end human suffering.

The truth is, we don’t know where this high-tech Frankenstein worldview will take us.

For example, you may have heard that the Jones Institute for Reproductive Research (which is part of the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va.) announced that they had deliberately “created” new human embryos (new human lives) so that they could harvest their stem cells – killing the embryos in the process. In other words, humans were created to be destroyed. This is barbaric. What is next?

The future

If I am even partially correct in my prediction, you can see how much is at stake. The abortion movement knows it can entrench abortion for generations under the guise of stem-cell research and curing diseases.

What can we do?

I urge you to do one or more of the following:

1. Call President Bush: Insist he say no to federal funding of stem cell research on human embryos. The White House comment line is (202) 456-1111.

2. Call your senators and representative: Insist they say no to federal funding of stem-cell research on human embryos, (202) 224-3121.

3. Join us on Aug. 1 in Norfolk, Va., and Washington, D.C.: Details of the anti-stem-cell research protest rallies are available at Loyal Opposition’s website.

4. Host an Aug. 1 protest rally in your community: We want to have at least 20 protests on Aug. 1 happening at the same time in various cities across America. More information is available online. This will help generate media coverage of the message.

The stakes

If we lose this battle, it will be because we failed to stand our ground in this critical battle. We are not arguing over a “blob of frozen cells.” We are struggling for the lives of human beings; we are drawing a line in the sand of absolute right vs. wrong, and the scientific reality that life begins at conception. America cannot afford to lose to death on the “unwanted and discarded” premise, furthering the Nazi medical ethical code of “research.”

If you are pro-life, now is the time to help hold the line. There was never a better time to make the truth be heard; write, demonstrate, call-in and stand out. The survival of the pro-life movement, as we know it, hangs in the balance.


Randall Terry is president of Loyal Opposition.

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