Some say human “true” human life shouldn’t be mixed with lower animals, especially not in test tubes. No matter which side of the hot button political issues you favor these days, it’s really important to take a stand. It’s equally important to use every chance to vote you get. Three senators sat on the sidelines, two allegedly Republican and one Democrat. That alone allowed Democrats to murder an amendment favored by evangelical conservatives.
Life in a bottle
On Thursday, the Senate voted in a straight party line split to kill an amendment sponsored by conservative Republicans which would have restricted a Democrat technology bill to ban “certain types of human-animal chimeras.” The uproar started when some scientists recently crossed monkeys and humans in the lab.
The experts claim that they aren’t doing anything wrong. They need to do this to “further medical research.” Life in a jar always sets off the ethical alarm bells.
Pro-life Senator Mike Braun, a conservative from Indiana, convinced a total of 48 Republicans to vote for the amendment. Democrats rounded up 49 of their members to kill it. The Democrats didn’t need Joe Manchin because both Thom Tillis and Marsha Blackburn were missing in action.
They don’t care what freaky form of life crawls out of a lab. The proposal sought to define a “human-animal chimera” as a Frankenstein’s monster of “various combinations of human and non-human DNA.”
One of the techniques to create life in the lab starts with a human embryo, supplied at a price by Planned Parenthood. They take the microscopic baby and inject “nonhuman cells.”
Whatever it makes isn’t human or what they injected it with either. That makes the species of the embryo “uncertain.” There is no doubt about it that Braun is “staunchly anti-abortion.”
Resemble human features
They also define a “nonhuman life form” as one that’s “engineered” to exhibit “human facial features or other bodily morphologies to resemble human features.” The Republicans were being exceptionally heavy handed with the penalties. They would have taken any researcher who dared to dabble in people-splicing and tossed them in the slammer for up to 10 years.
The minimum fine would be at least a million dollars for “for even attempting to create a human-animal chimera.” Insulin and heart-valve makers would be frantic.
Human life, conservative Republicans insist, “is distinct and sacred.” They have taken it upon themselves to proclaim that any such experiments are “unethical” and “should be a crime.” Evangelicals and pro-life groups are praising them with arms raised. What they seem to forget is that “scientists have spent decades creating chimeras to improve the testing of drugs and boost organ transplant research.”
Heart valves grown in pigs for instance. The insulin used by some diabetic patients was synthesized from bacteria utilizing recombinant human DNA. All that would disappear if the Republicans got their way.
One researcher puts it in a practical perspective. “There is a way to genetically engineer both the embryo and the stem cells so that the stem cells will only make a particular organ.”
According to bioethicist Insoo Hyun, “Nobody wants a chimeric embryo to grow into a part-human, part-animal thing that has human cells from head to toe mixed in.” They wouldn’t know what to feed it. While life in a lab has always been a tricky ethical problem, some common sense should be used to rein in overzealous caution too.