Skip to comments.Human Life & Bioethics (FRC - Family Research Council)
Posted on 01/31/2009 6:12:51 PM PST by Coleus
Family Research Council recognizes and respects the inherent dignity of every human life from conception (whether by natural or artificial means) until death. FRC desires to help build a culture of life, holding that all human life is a gift to be treasured. The life of every human being is an intrinsic good, not something whose value is conditional upon its usefulness to others or to the state.
Threats to human life include abortion, euthanasia, and many new forms of biotechnology. However, human beings need not prove their moral worth by demonstrating sentience, or self-awareness, or a certain level of cognitive ability. Neither scientific progress nor the desire to help others can justify the sacrifice of any human being's life or inherent dignity. Every human being, born or unborn, deserves the equal protection of the law.
Few things touch on the sanctity of human life more than the practice of abortion. A pregnancy should not simply be "terminated," as if it were something impersonal and problematic and it cannot be without physical and emotional consequences. A child in the womb is a distinct, developing, wholly human being, and each time a mother decides or a father pressures to end such a life it is a profound tragedy. Abortion harms the mother as well, and deprives society of the gifts of the unborn. Nevertheless, our laws rarely recognize this, and so FRC uses various media to present the intrinsic dignity of unborn human life and the costs of abortion to the public, to lawmakers, and to the courts. The Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, declaring abortion to be a constitutional "right," was without foundation in the text of the constitution and thus was wrongly decided, and we look forward to the day when this grave error will be corrected.
Disabling diseases and injuries, including those for which there is a terminal diagnosis, are tragic. However, there is no such thing as a life not worth living. Every life holds promise, even if disadvantaged by developmental disability, injury, disease, or advanced aging. FRC believes that every human life has inherent dignity, and that it is unethical to deliberately end the life of a suffering person (euthanasia), or assist or enable another person to end their life (assisted suicide). While extraordinary means of life support, such as assistance with respiration and heart function, may be withdrawn from a terminally ill person if that is the person's expressed wish, nutrition and hydration are normal and not extraordinary means of maintaining life, and severe disability is not the same as terminal illness. True compassion means finding ways to ease suffering and provide care for each person, while maintaining the individual's life and dignity.
Stem Cells and Biotechnology
Advances in science, medicine, and technology may hold promises of improved health and well-being, but may also devalue human life and human dignity. Stem cells, cloning, genetic engineering, and other new technologies need to be evaluated carefully within both a scientific and an ethical framework. Family Research Council opposes research that destroys, harms, or manipulates an embryonic human being. However, we vigorously support research and therapies using "adult" stem cells (such as from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood), which is not ethically problematic and has already resulted in useful therapies in human patients. FRC opposes all forms of human cloning, whether "reproductive" to bring an infant to term, or "therapeutic," to destroy the cloned embryo for experiments. FRC believes that good science is also ethical science, and supports biotechnologies that advance scientific knowledge and medical treatments, while valuing all human life and maintaining human dignity.
FRC supports the right of health care professionals and organizations who have conscientious objections to reject participation in or cooperation with the delivery and marketing of abortion or abortifacients, sterilization, contraception, embryo-destroying research or treatments, or euthanasia. Neither the state nor professional licensing bodies can be permitted to impose treatment or referral mandates which violate this right of conscience. In addition to this "provider's" right of conscience, any reform of our country's health insurance system should also include a "subscriber's" right of conscience, whereby those purchasing or enrolling in health insurance have the freedom to choose health plans in which their premium dollars will not be used to subsidize procedures or practices to which they have moral objections.
Family Research Council believes that abortion, far from empowering women, is a destructive force in women's lives. Women deserve to be fully informed before making decisions regarding their reproductive and maternal health. Maternal health is improved when women are fully informed about risk factors, prenatal development and care, and pregnancy and postpartum outcomes, including the physical and psychological effects of both medical and surgical abortion. Procedures and topics spanning the wide range of women's reproductive and maternal health, such as egg extraction and fetal pain, require full disclosure of accurate information and potential risks. FRC is opposed to the availability of the morning after pill (or Plan B) and other hormonal drugs over the counter without a prescription. Hormonal medications require the oversight of a physician or medical provider throughout the duration of drug usage, in order to screen for the existence or the subsequent development of contraindications. FRC supports the pregnancy resource center (PRC) movement, which seeks to come alongside women, men, girls, and their families during pregnancy with the provision of accurate information, education, emotional support, and critical resources and referrals. Motherhood in the context of marriage promotes positive health outcomes for women.