Every abortion decision involves a conflict of values. The rights of the developing unborn child are in conflict with the rights of the pregnant woman. Every physician who cares for pregnant women is caring for two patients—the pregnant woman herself and the unborn child. The pregnant woman frequently is called upon to act in a way that primarily is oriented toward the welfare of her unborn child. She may be asked to optimize her diet, abstain from smoking, or drink alcohol in moderation to protect her fetus.
In an odd case involving surrogate motherhood arrangements, a Utah couple challenged the state's law that renders surrogacy contracts unenforceable. The state passed the law in the late 1980's, actually following the pattern set by the majority of states that have laws on the books regulating surrogacy. The law made it illegal to pay surrogates a fee beyond reasonable expenses because payment of a fee for the waiver of parental rights constitutes the purchase and sale of children, violating the 13th amendment to the Constitution.
We are in a national state of emergency. While Congress and the President are managing the war in Afghanistan and while Tom Ridge is working to protect our national security, renegade scientists continue their efforts to clone human beings. Three groups have now said that they have cloned human beings. The latest report came from Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) -- a biotechnology company in Worcester, Massachusetts -- on November 24, 2001.
Late last year, scientists in the U.S. succeeded in isolating and culturing stem cells from a variety of sources: embryos, aborted fetuses, and adults. Stem cells, which are the precursor cells that give rise to the 210 different kinds of tissue in the human body, are believed to have the potential to treat a host of diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, and cancer.
Dr. Shapiro, Members of the Commission, and Guests,
My name is Daniel McConchie, Operations Director for The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity located just north of here in Bannockburn, Illinois.