Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Harvesting eggs from aborted babies to create IVF babies? Ten years later the story still horrifies

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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A proposal by fertility researchers to “harvest” female gametes, “ova,” from the dead bodies of aborted children to create in vitro embryos in the lab has created a small buzz among the pro-life websites, blogs and Facebook in the last couple of days. But the buzz is over a story that appeared in the Daily Mail nearly ten years ago, about research that has very likely moved along considerably in that time. 

In July 2003, the Daily Mail wrote about the work of a team of researchers from Israel, revealed at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Madrid. These researchers had successfully cultivated ovarian follicles in the lab, keeping them alive for several weeks. The tissue, the part of the female reproductive system that gives rise to ova, had been taken from seven babies aborted at between 22 and 33 weeks gestation. It was cultivated in a mixture of chemicals and hormones over four weeks and the follicles matured to the stage just prior to the production of gametes. 

Dr. Tal Biron-Shental, from Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, Israel, was quoted by the Mail, as well as the BBC and a few other outlets, conceding that the concept of taking ovarian tissue from aborted babies “was controversial”. In fact, her quotes revealed much about the direction the abortion ideology has taken; one of pure, ice-cold utilitarianism. 

“I’m fully aware of the controversy about this - but probably, in some place, it will be ethically acceptable,” Biron-Shental said. “There is a shortage of donated oocytes (eggs) for IVF - oocytes from aborted fetuses might provide a new source for these. 

“There are a huge amount of follicles in the fetal ovary.” 

Somehow, this Daily Mail story has recently resurfaced from the depths of the internet ocean, bobbing around Facebook and elsewhere, and been picked up by one or two pro-life websites and blogs who failed to notice the date. But I remembered the issue as being a hot one in the early years of my involvement in the pro-life political lobby in Canada. 

At about that time, I was working for Campaign Life Coalition, doing most of the research and writing on the impending Assisted Human Reproduction bill that was being shoved through Parliament by the then-Liberal Party government. One of the things that had frustrated us at the time was the unwillingness of our MPs, even the pro-life ones, to believe that such outrageous things were being contemplated by researchers. The idea that babies could be created using the ova of other babies who had been aborted was so outlandish, so horrifying, that we were told we were being “extreme”.

I remember being told by the representative of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops that “some law was better than no law,” and at least once the bill passed Canada would no longer be the wild west of the embryo research world where anything goes. The bill was passed, mostly unamended, and our warnings about aborted baby ova and other horrors were largely ignored. 

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That was ten years ago. Since then, Canada has had a smoothly regulated embryo research industry, well-funded and prosperous, with a clearly delineated legal framework that could easily have allowed such research to go forward, without public scrutiny. 

What isn't clear is whether this harvesting of eggs is actually happening either in the UK or Canada. But, given the issue is floating around again, it seems worth revisiting the topic. I spoke today with pro-life advocates in Britain who said that, if nothing else, the story reveals the depravity of the abortion ideology. Ivana Forman, a spokesman for the campaign group Abort 67 said that the concept of children created from aborted babies was so shocking to most ordinary people that it could result in a more healthy debate on legalised abortion and its societal impact. 

Forman told me that, obviously, the entire proposal ought to be unthinkable from the start. The logic, she said, is straightforward; if the unborn child is just a “blob of tissue” then why not use it? 

“We live in a society that has decided that unborn children are not tiny human beings. And if that’s so, then why not get what you can from them? I’m surprised anyone in the secular world would have a problem.” 

The abortion industry, embryo researchers and the media that supports them, however, refuses to admit that the unborn are human beings. “They’re not recognising that they’re human beings from the moment of conception, therefore it’s ok to kill them. If that’s the argument, then we can do what we want with them. 

The use of the left over tissue, she said, is simply the next logical step. “That’s the way forward. If people are accepting abortion, then that’s just another step. Towards devaluing human life.” 

Abort 67 is a relatively new group that takes the radical approach of using large graphic images of aborted children on the streets, a method of pro-life activism that upsets many, even in the pro-life world. But Forman defended the group’s efforts, saying that in Britain no progress will be made, even among those who don’t like abortion, until people are forced to confront the reality of abortion. 

Forman said that stories like the one in the Daily Mail provide a similar opportunity. The idea of using aborted children to create new babies in the lab is so outrageous that it strips away the polite, euphemistic padding in which abortion is normally shrouded. 

“We try to expose it with images, with pictures, to try to bring it into the public arena, so it’s not cloaked in euphemism. We’re exposing “choice” and what abortion is, and thereby changing people’s  minds.

“People who see it say, ‘I was told it s just a blob of cells,’ but we say, ‘look its got arms and legs…’”

With a story like the one in the Mail, she said, “You’ve got to be really cold and heartless to say, ‘well it’s dead anyway, we might as well get some use out of it’.

Maybe things like this could bring the whole issue of abortion into the public eye, stripped of the euphemisms.”

The use of aborted fetal tissue, not only in medical research but even the cosmetic industry has been known to pro-life advocates for decades, though the information has rarely been publicized in the mainstream press. Fertility experts have long maintained that one of the largest obstacles to making artificial reproductive techniques more widely available is the difficulty in obtaining ova in sufficient quantities. In Canada, during the discussions over the Assisted Human Reproduction bill, MPs were warned by pro-life advocates that the drive to obtain ova would mean poor women in Canada and women in developing countries could face exploitation. 

In 1993 Dr. Roger Gosden, the maverick British fertility and embryo researcher, then at Edinburgh University, asked for a license from the British governing body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to use ovarian tissue not only from live donors but from cadavers and aborted fetuses. The HFEA submitted the proposals to a public consultation, but decided that societal norms were not yet ready to accept such procedures and that this would place burdens on children.

In his 1989 book The Skin Game: The International Beauty Business Brutally Exposed, researcher Gerald McKnight revealed that pregnant women in poor countries were being offered US $200 to abort their children to provide materials for the manufacturers of skin creams.


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I’m not ‘parent 1,’ I’m Mamma!: Italians defy secularist and gender ideology in large ways and small

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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There’s a lot to love about Italy and the Italians. They can drive you nuts, but in so many ways, they’ve got their feet planted firmly on the ground, and can be relied upon to refuse to go along with a lot of the modern world’s wild shenanigans.

I am reminded of the famous case a few years ago when the European Court of Human Rights, in an act of supreme arrogance, issued an order to the Italian government to remove all the crucifixes in every school and public office in the country. Some one had complained, and a whole country had to toe the radical secularist line.

Italians up and down the boot responded with a magnificent two-fingers-up, with mayors and town councillors issuing decrees that any classroom or public office NOT prominently displaying a crucifix by the end of the week would be subject to heavy fines. In one small town, the mayor and the communist party official joined with the local parish church to ceremonially reinstall a large crucifix in the centre of the town’s main piazza.

Well, here we are again, with the Italians making it clear in ways big and small, that no matter how eager some of the shysters in their government may be to kow tow to the gender ideology’s zeitgeist, the actual people are having none of it.

Tempi.com, a Catholic newspaper, published a viral photo today of a very typical Italian act of public defiance. One woman in Milan, when asked to fill out a form for her children’s school, has made a little correction:

Her name is Barbara Bianchi and today the newspaper says that she did not believe that her gesture would find many supporters. A mother, just over forty eight years, with twins, posted on Facebook a photo that has been around the web. ‘I am the mother, not “parent one.” [Milan Mayor Giuliano] @Pisapia, understood?’ She wrote next to the image of her signature on the document of enrollment of children in school.

“With a stroke of the pen has deleted the words ‘parent 1’ and replaced it with the word ‘mamma.’ The image has collected many ‘likes’ and shares.

LifeSiteNews would like to salute Mrs. Bianchi, and all the Italian people who are increasingly refusing to go along with the ideological tide.

Viva Italia!

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Divorce: the proto-sin to launch a Sexual Revolution – Pope Leo XIII

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, December 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When did the Sexual Revolution start? It seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? Most people would place it about the early to mid 1960s. The publication of that book by Germaine Greer, or the invention and marketing of The Pill, right?

Given a moment to think about it, most people would probably amend that and say it probably had its roots earlier than that. Maybe it goes back to whenever Germaine Greer and other academic feminists were in university working on their ideas and Dr. Pincus was working on his science project. Nearly everyone would agree, however, that by the time Pope Paul VI issued his famous 1968 encyclical on artificial birth control, Humanae Vitae, no one had seen that horse for a long time and the barn doors had actually fallen off.

But how did the doors get opened in the first place? How could an entire civilisation’s sexual mores be so radically altered in a single generation? Was there one, “proto-sin” that launched the whole business? What allowed these things to gain a foothold after centuries in which all the Christian world, since the fall of the Roman Empire, founded its daily life and polities on the solidity of marriage and the generation and raising of children?

Even a brief glance at history will show that the frenzy of sexual disorderliness that so characterises our times did not start in the 20th century at all. The first legal steps in creating the destruction we see today was the loosening of the divorce laws in the 19th century. Without the legal bastion of indissoluble marriage, the supports that held everything else in place with regards to the family were, one by one, eroded and finally abandoned. And the Church had been warning against it for a while.

Pope Leo XIII, one of the towering figures of Catholic history, published the encyclical “Arcanum divinae sapientia” (The Mystery of Divine Wisdom) on marriage in 1880, his fourth out of an enormous final total of 85. Popes don’t choose their encyclical topics at random, and it is clear from its early appearance in his papacy that he was seriously worried about the state of marriage, the protection and nurturing of which he linked to the inherent dignity of women.

Paragraph 29 can perhaps give us a hint about the origin of the social catastrophe we currently find ourselves in. Leo clearly equates the protection of the family with the protection both of women and children and of the state. He writes, “Truly, it is hardly possible to describe how great are the evils that flow from divorce.”

The rest of the paragraph immediately reminded me of the warnings Paul VI was to give nearly 90 years later about artificial contraception. Leo writes that divorce makes “matrimonial contracts…variable” and “mutual kindness is weakened”.

Divorce, he said, supplies “deplorable inducements to unfaithfulness” and harms the education and training of children, allows the “breaking up of homes” and sows “seeds of dissension” in families. With divorce, “the dignity of womanhood is lessened and brought low, and women run the risk of being deserted after having ministered to the pleasures of men”.

Because “nothing has such power to lay waste families and destroy the mainstay of kingdoms as the corruption of morals,” divorce is “in the highest degree hostile to the prosperity of families and States.”

Looking at the roots of the Sexual Revolution, we find ourselves following a trail of historical breadcrumbs backwards in time. It is broadly accepted that the Revolution was triggered by a combination of factors, but most think the big one was hormonal contraceptives. The generally accepted dates for the invention of The Pill is between 1951 and 1957 by Dr. Gregory Pincus, an acquaintance of Margaret Sanger who helped him obtain research funding.

Sanger herself, the foundress of the organisation that would eventually span the globe as Planned Parenthood International and a notorious racist and eugenicist, started her work in 1916 and made no bones in her writing about it being a part of her eugenics project, (writing that later inspired Hitler and the pre-war German eugenics programme he instigated).

Going back further, we find that the Sexual Revolution, as a social and moral upheaval that eventually undermined and shredded the bastions of the traditional family, was a key goal laid out in Marxist writings as early as the work of Friedrich Engels who wrote of the evils of the “monogamous family”. His book on the subject, “The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State,” that is still in print and used in universities, was published in 1884.

Engels saw marriage and the family as a tool of oppression, and his writing clearly shows the seeds of modern anti-family feminism. That academic feminism, the ideology that currently governs much of the western world, is a product of Marxism is a secret to no one except the general public. But at the same time Engels was writing, he claimed, from history, the Church was taking different lessons from the past.

Pope Leo also looked back to the ancient world in his warning about what would happen, particularly to women, should the Christian world slide back into the ways of the later Romans who allowed divorce virtually at whim. States, he said, forgot “the true notion and origin of marriage”. “Plurality of wives and husbands, as well as divorce, caused the nuptial bond to be relaxed exceedingly,” resulting in women being reduced to a “piteous” state in which they were “sunk so low as to be all but reckoned as a means for the gratification of passion, or for the production of offspring”.

The Church, Leo wrote, had restored marriage as it was originally intended by God, and defended it from the encroachments of power-hungry princes and states. But in Leo’s time the “archenemy of mankind,” the Devil, had inspired persons to “despise…or utterly ignore the restoration of marriage to its original perfection”.

There were men “in our own age,” who aimed to “pervert utterly the nature of marriage”. Such people, inspired by “the maxims of a false philosophy and corrupted in morals, judge nothing so unbearable as submission and obedience; and strive with all their might to bring about that not only individual men, but families, also -- indeed, human society itself -- may in haughty pride despise the sovereignty of God.”

Given our current struggles with hyper-secularisation, it is interesting to note also that  Leo firmly attributed the attacks on marriage as a way of asserting the ultimate authority of the secular state against that of the Church. Indeed, there are places where the encyclical’s warnings are of developments that sound depressingly familiar.

“Since the family and human society at large spring from marriage, these men will on no account allow matrimony to be the subject of the jurisdiction of the Church. Nay, they endeavor to deprive it of all holiness, and so bring it within the contracted sphere of those rights which, having been instituted by man, are ruled and administered by the civil jurisprudence of the community.

“Now is the time, they say, for the heads of the State to vindicate their rights unflinchingly, and to do their best to settle all that relates to marriage according as to them seems good.”

Leo does not specify which states in particular, but by his time, Britain had already passed the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 that removed the competence of divorce cases from ecclesiastical to civil courts and made marriage a matter of contract law, rather than an acknowledgement by the state of a religiously-founded sacrament. In fact, it was opposed in Parliament by some MPs who feared that it was a usurpation of the rights and authority of the established Church of England.

Prior to this law, those who wanted a divorce had to prove adultery, and the divorce was only granted either as an annulment, or as a separate act of Parliament. With the passage of the 1857 act, the law was slowly amended to the point where, as of 1973, people in England and Wales can divorce on the grounds of adultery or “unreasonable behaviour” which can be anything from chronic alcoholism to having separate social lives. The Daily Mail reported in 2002 that Britain has the highest rate of divorce in the European Union. Since then, demographers have noted that the rate of divorce has slowed, but mostly because fewer people are bothering to get married in the first place.

“Not only, in strict truth, was marriage instituted for the propagation of the human race, but also that the lives of husbands and wives might be made better and happier,” Leo XIII wrote in 1880. From such unions, he said, “the State may rightly expect a race of citizens animated by a good spirit and filled with reverence and love for God, recognizing it their duty to obey those who rule justly and lawfully, to love all, and to injure no one.”

Two summers ago, “youths” rioted across Britain, trashing shops and burning homes and businesses in four major cities. This incident, which made international headlines at the time, has been strangely almost forgotten. At the time, Britain’s heavily leftist media blamed lack of social services. But one man, a social worker in Britain’s inner cities, squarely blamed the destruction of the family. The kids throwing rubbish bins through shop windows had never known a father and had been raised by the state.

It is hard to imagine a better caption to the photos of the laughing, smiling teenagers looting shops than Leo’s condemnation and warning, “Nothing has such power to lay waste families and destroy the mainstay of kingdoms as the corruption of morals” brought about by divorce.

“Truly, it is hardly possible to describe how great are the evils that flow from divorce.”

Truly. 


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URGENT! Only hours left to get last 400 Irish signatures needed for ‘One of Us’ petition quota

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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One of Us is an international Europe-wide petition to demand that the European Union recognise the personhood of the human embryo, even at the earliest stages of developmental life. 

The proposal calls for a ban on the EU’s “financing of activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research, development aid and public health.” Read more about it here

In September, the international signatures had reached 1 million

Today, LifeSiteNews.com was asked to pass on the following message to our readers and friends in the Republic of Ireland. 

Dear Friends,

Ireland needs just 400 more signatures to reach our ‘One of Us’ quota!

Thank you SO MUCH for all your efforts to date.  We're almost there now, so . . .

Please ask family, friends, neighbours, and others to sign on-line TODAY at:  https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/ECI-2012-000005/public/signup.do, and spread the word by E-mail, Mobile, Smart-phone, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Blogs, Forums, LinkedIn, and any other way you can.

NOTE:  THE DEADLINE IS ALMOST HERE - 'SIGN ON-LINE' FACILITIES CLOSE TOMORROW NIGHT, FRIDAY 1ST NOVEMBER, AT 11PM GMT (midnight in Brussels).

As you are probably aware, the 'One Of Us' European Citizens Initiative calls for an EU-wide ban and end to funding activities that assume the destruction of human embryos, in particular with regard to research, development aid and public health, which includes abortion.

God bless!

Mary Morgan-Dupré
Secretary, Ireland United For Life
'One Of Us' European Citizens Initiative


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