Over at Lifesitenews, we learn that iPS cells may not, after all, be the hoped-for ethical deliverance from the patently immoral culling of stem cells from leftover IVF or cloned human embryos – immoral because the culling kills the embryo.
The revelation that some iPS cells are indistinguishable from single-cell embryos is likely to dismantle arguments supporting the cells as “ethical.” In a surprise statement in his keynote address at the conference co-sponsored by the Vatican, Dr. John Gurdon, a pioneer in nuclear transfer cloning techniques, said that with iPS cells created from adult skin cells, “You can actually get a totally normal, reproducing, adult animal from a skin cell without the use of an egg.” He said it is possible to derive “a complete animal” from the cells. This is not theoretical, he added, but has already been done with mice.
Speaking to LifeSiteNews.com after the lecture, Dr. Gurdon agreed that the possibility of creating whole organisms from a single skin cell “is quite remarkable.” Asked what the difference is between an iPS cell that has been reverted back to its pluripotent state and an embryo in its earliest, single-cell stage, Gurdon replied, “Probably none.”
[Update: see the comments below for clarification regarding the information in that Lifesitenews article, and for a link to Lydia's own article on the subject.]
An article at the American Spectator by Matt Purple acquaints us with a fellow named Harvey Karman, his association with Kermit Gosnell, and their collaboration on an exercise in butchery that would later be called the Mother’s Day Massacre, which was initiated in an attempt to test one of Karman’s inventions, a thing called the Super Coil. Its purpose was to make safe and simple 2nd trimester abortions. A Gosnell staffer explains its ingenuity:
[T]here was a device that he and [Karman] were working on that was supposed to be plastic – basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. All right. They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, it would then – the gel would melt and these 97 things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus, and the fetus would be expelled.
When he died in 2008, Harvey Karman, who murdered countless unborn children, killed a pregnant mother with a nutcracker, used women as human experiments, and enthusiastically promoted a medieval killing device, was given a pleasant obituary in the Los Angeles Times.
At National Review, Andrew McCarthy reminds us that the words we use bear an actual relationship to the so-called reality inside our heads. Corrupt the one, you corrupt the other. Though it seems a chicken-or-the-egg sort of problem to me: does the misuse of language bring about the reality, or do we mangle the language only after we’ve set our minds on a particular depravity?
In Philadelphia, at a human abattoir on Lancaster Avenue, is where it ends, not where it starts. It starts with the perversion of language. It starts when the icons of a dissipated culture reduce a baby to a “fetus.” From there, Yeats’s blood-dimmed tide rolls rapidly in. Before long, a baby is not a person but a punishment, as President Barack Obama framed the matter in his familiar off-the-cuff iciness.
He quotes the oft-cited words of our first black, anti-Christian Christian president in all his fumbling glory before the Illinois state senate – “That fetus, or child — however way you want to describe it” – and uses if often throughout to great effect. Regarding the media’s reluctance to cover Gosnell’s trial, he says
Better to shove the evidence into a dark closet. That’s what they did in Chicago. There, despite the best efforts of “physicians” (they of the “do no harm” oath), many “however way you want to describe its” were “not just coming out limp and dead,” as Obama haltingly put it. The abortionists’ answer was to stick the helpless survivors in a utility closet where they could die, out of sight and out of mind.
…”Snip” is a terse, antiseptic word. Like “choice,” it is tailored to those rare, discomfiting occasions when the intentional killing of a “however way you want to describe it” must be spoken of rather than silently done. It is an effort, as much mentally as verbally, to evade the monstrousness we abide in the United States, where nearly 60 million children — a population roughly equal to that of France or the United Kingdom — have been aborted since the Supreme Court’s 1973 fatwa in Roe v. Wade.
Apparently what Gosnell should have been doing – rather than lifting the kid from the womb before performing his now-infamous ‘snip’ – was to have left it there and then performed what you might call a pre-partial-birth abortion, which was described for us by a nurse in testimony before the Supreme Court, regarding the legal execution of a six month old:
the baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp…He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.
“Four justices of the United States Supreme Court,” McCarthy reminds us, “would have upheld this barbarism. They would not have described it. It is not to be spoken of, only done.”
In “The Collapsing of the American Skull,” Mark Steyn is thinking along similar lines when he cites Dr. Tracy Weitz of the University of California, San Francisco, who tries to starkly emphasize the rather evanescent difference between the way Dr. Gosnell kills babies and the way a doctor of the more competent variety does it:
When a procedure that usually involves the collapsing of the skull is done, it’s usually done when the fetus is still in the uterus, not when the fetus has been delivered…So, in terms of thinking about the difference between the way abortion providers who do later abortions in the United States practice, and this particular practice, they are completely worlds apart.
Oh. I was wondering if the “little fingers” of the fetus “still in the uterus” might be “clasping and unclasping, and his little feet” still “kicking.” Or, when the scissors are stuck into the back of his head, do the arms of the fetus “still in the uterus” try to jerk out, “like a startle reaction”? I was wondering, once his brains are sucked out, if he goes “completely limp.” Maybe it’s too cramped in there for the reaction to be quite as noticeable. Maybe it makes him easier to kill. As Steyn says to Dr. Weitz’s “worlds apart” assertion,
Technically, they’re only inches apart. So what’s the big deal? The skull is collapsed in order to make it easier to clear the cervix. Once a healthy baby is out on the table and you cut his spinal column, there’s no need to suck out his brains and cave in his skull.
Well, I asked once before, and might as well again:
They wanted their babies killed; Dr. Gosnell killed them. What’s the problem? Oh, his methods were gruesome and unsanitary. Well, suppose the place had been sanitary, and that instead of killing them savagely, he had killed them softly. That is, rather than sticking scissors into the back of their necks, suppose he had administered a lethal sedative? Would everything then have been okey-dokey?
I don’t think America quite understands, and certainly is not willing to admit, just what Kermit Gosnell really is: he is a government-licensed-and-approved serial killer. So are all abortionists. That’s what they do.