Federal health regulators are considering this week whether to green light what Associated Press calls "a provocative new fertilization technique that could eventually create babies from the DNA of 3 people..."
The Food and Drug Administration describes their meeting on this issue as a "scientific, technologic and clinical discussion about how to test the approach to humans."
Although medical science has already accomplished this technique using animals, why are they asking for federal permission to now begin testing with humans?
Are they aware of the importance of ethical and moral concerns, or do they merely see them as obstacles which need to be addressed and removed for the sake of "progress?"
This international story, originating from right here in the Northwest, may be raising more questions than providing answers.
Here's some detail on the discussion that is under way---and some things to think about.
Federal health regulators, according to the Associated Press, are considering this medical option because the technique could "prevent mothers from passing on debilitating genetic diseases to their children."
But should the government sanction the creation of genetically modified humans?
This meeting of the FDA was prompted by research at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, where researchers have produced 5 healthy monkeys using what they call "DNA replacement technique."
Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the doctor heading the experiment, is considered a global leader in this research. He is asking FDA approval to begin testing on a handful of women who carry genes that can lead to devastating diseases in children; including blindness, organ failure and epilepsy.
The FDA is hearing from some doctors and scientists who agree and are advocating to move forward and from some who are expressing some caution, because they believe this could be a proverbial "slippery slope" toward "designer babies" in which parents could customize traits like eye color, height and intelligence.
Dr. Mitalipov is telling the panel he does not call it "gene modification," he calls it "gene correction."
He says, "We want to replace these mutated genes, which by nature have become pathogenic to humans. We're reversing them back to normal, so I don't understand why you would be opposing that?"
This technique was first introduced some time ago and made headlines as a method to create babies with 3 parents.
It was strongly supported by the homosexual community.
Public reaction forced it back into the closet for revision.
Now it's back.
Dr. Mitalipov and some other doctors now say the technique doesn't "really" create babies with 3 parents because the child will only have "trace bits" of all three person's genes.
While the doctor and his allies swear they are merely trying to "reverse mutated genes back to normal---gene correction" there are some legitimate concerns in the medical community.
Mary Darnovsky, considered an expert in the field says, "It does initially look like something you would want to support, but the safety concerns and the social and ethical concerns are really over riding."
They are. But on what basis do you address those "social and ethical" concerns?
Stanford University Professor Hank Greely says, "The FDA is taking the right approach by focusing on the immediate concerns, rather than speculating on whether this could lead to a 'Brave New World' scenario of biologically engineered humans."
He is telling the FDA, "Don't focus on the 'slippery slope'. If you're worried about genetically engineered monsters or super heroes then try to stop that, you don't try to stop medically useful inventions because you're worried that 17 steps down the line it will turn into something we don't like."
Incrementalism is a favorite tool for the progressive agenda.
Remember, legalized abortion was first introduced as a means to save a mother's life.
Remember, then Senator Ed Murray, now Seattle Mayor, promised every one in Washington state that domestic partnerships was not, repeat, not about same-sex marriage. It was about "equality." And "fairness." The day following the legalization of domestic partnerships, known as the "everything but marriage" bill, the Seattle Times ran an article titled, "Give them the Name." The Times was, of course, advocating the state go all the way and redefine marriage. The Times also praised Murray for the way he had incrementally led the state to that point of "almost" redefining marriage.
That came a few years later.
Everyone must be concerned about "17 steps down the line."
Here are some personal thoughts from what I believe to be a biblical, Christian perspective.
1. I personally believe that medical science can be a gift from God, who created all things, including medical knowledge (John 1). God is the Healer---sometimes instantaneously, sometimes through medical techniques, always ultimately in the death of a believer.
2. What we do in all aspects of life is very important. Why we do it is equally important.
a. Without an understanding and acceptance of who God is---Creator and giver of life---motives will always be tainted and unchecked. Our Founders recognized this fact in framing this new nation, declaring that our freedoms they swore to protect came not from government, but from God. They also had an understanding that Life comes from God.
b. Humans have a long history of wanting to be--- "as God." We see this beginning in Genesis 3 and following through the historical accounts of tyrants and depots who believed themselves to be God.
3. How do we find moral and ethical balance in using the knowledge, any knowledge, God allows us to discover for help and healing, as opposed to trying to become God and exceed moral and ethical boundaries?
4. It comes down to this. Biblical Christian faith is not something intended merely for discussion purposes in meetings held in buildings with steeples.
Christianity is God's act of redemption for all and a moral compass for human experience.
Christianity is not a philosophy of life---it is Life and Lifestyle. It is a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
Without a proper understanding and recognition of God and who He is, we cannot and ultimately will not practice ethical or moral restraint.
5. If medicine is working in harmony with God's will as revealed in the Bible, it is a blessing. If it attempts to exceed or replace God and His revealed will, it becomes a curse.
In order to work in harmony with God's will and purposes we must know Him and know His Word and its principles.
This is why Christianity and the gospel was and is intended for the public square---for influencing a culture, as well as an individual life.
It is a personal experience that demands a public expression.
It is not just a discussion in a building with a steeple. It is the life changing, culture changing power of God.
Be Bold. Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.