The so-called pro-life activists are indeed going berserk in the US and seeking to use the courts as a weapon in their campaigns.
An appeals court is to decide where a petition challenging state-funded stem cell research should be heard. The most interesting point about the lawsuit, filed by Martin Palmer, a Maryland lawyer, is that he says he represents Mary Scott Doe, an unborn embryo, against Robert Klein, chairman of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state-run $3 billion stem cell research funding agency.
He filed the case two years ago in Riverside, California, where a federal judge said that it was the wrong place for it. Palmer should have filed in either San Francisco, where CIRM is located, or Sacramento, the state's capital. He filed the case two years ago in Riverside, California, where a federal judge said that was the wrong place for it. Palmer should have filed in either San Francisco, where CIRM is located, or Sacramento, the state's capital.
On Tuesday, a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena will hear Palmer's appeal of that decision.
He is challenging the right of the state of California to fund embryonic stem cell research. His contention is that the destruction of human embryos violates the 13th and 14th U.S. Constitutional amendments.
The embryos, the argument goes, deserve equal protection under the law (13th amendment) but they are being "enslaved."
The 14th amendment says that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive them of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law or deny them equal protection of the laws.
Clearly Martin Palmer, the petitioner who is also the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Preborn Children, is making out the embryo to be a full-fledged citizen already.
As it happens a human blastocyst (from which stem cells are harvested) only contains 70-100 cells. A blastocyst has no spine, or brain, or nervous system, or organs. It can't think, it has no identity or sense of self, it feels no pain or pleasure, it can't see or hear or taste or smell. They're just chunks of cells containing genetic information, not all that different from the chunks of cells that comprise one's toenails.
'Potential human being' and 'human being' are quite far apart, like a block of stone is *potentially* a masterpiece of sculpture. But you can't sell the block of stone for the same as you could the masterpiece that it might become, it is pointed out.
Those who want stem cell research to go on unimpeded are worried at the way the conservatives are able to manipulate the courts.
They ask, "How can humans hope to advance anywhere in medicine and science with these morons out there claiming that these eggs merely full of stem cells are human and have souls. This is rather annoying, and these conservatives are nothing more than over religious morons who think God is the only answer in society. Is God just going to miracle away your AIDs and cancer?"
But those who oppose stem cell research argue that an embryo is relabelled as a fetus at eight weeks - when all the major body forms are present.
By week 4 the neural tube has developed, by week 5 the heartbeat can be detected. The soonest the pregnancy can be detected is 2-4 weeks.
A "Potential Human Being" is an uncombined egg and sperm. A human being is a combined egg and sperm, they declare.
And so the battle goes on.