Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Useful Lives: The American Medical Association Ethics
Catholic Way ^ | 06.20.03 | Dr. Pat Lappert, M.D.

Posted on 06/21/2003 9:31:33 AM PDT by Coleus


Useful Lives: The American Medical Association Ethics

By Dr. Pat Lappert
Chief Medical Advisor
This past week, the governing body of the AMA did the unspeakable...

Catholic Way - Useful Lives: The American Medical Association’s Ethics of Homicide

(c)Patrick W. Lappert, MD

This past week, in a vote that went without debate, the governing body of the AMA gave public approval to human cloning for research and therapeutic applications. Because this approval was given by the nation’s largest association of physicians, it will carry considerable weight into the arena of public policy and legislation.

Human cloning is the process by which human genetic material is extracted from a living human cell, and is implanted into a human egg which has been stripped of its genetic material, and is induced to divide and grow into an embryonic human being that is theoretically genetically identical to the human who donated the genetic material. In principal, the process produces an “exact copy” of a living human being.

Why would anyone go to such lengths? The idea is to produce a source of cells, tissues or complete organs that can be used to effect the cure of diseases that the chromosome donor might be suffering from. Say for example I am suffering from a particular form of diabetes in which I lack sufficient numbers of insulin producing cells in my pancreas. Scientists could produce a clone of me, and at some stage in its growth the fetus could be sacrificed, the islet cells extracted from its pancreas, and transplanted into my body. Because it is genetically identical to me there would be none of the tissue rejection issues that plague such transplants. Because my diabetes would thereby be cured, I would be spared the kidney failure, blindness, chronic wounds, amputations and so on. The utilitarian logic would tell us that although cloning is expensive, these chronic diseases are worse. Similar examples are made for Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, kidney failure, heart failure and so on.

The AMA in its statement of principle rejects the idea of “reproductive cloning”. Reproductive cloning is exactly the same process, differing only in that the clone is allowed to develop into a “fully viable” child. Their ethical concern is that the offspring may suffer from genetic problems, or from a process hinted at in animal clones whereby the offspring age rapidly and die. That famous sheep clone “Dolly” died such a death.

Since many of the diseases that plague humanity can be characterized as essentially the degeneration of some particular tissue or organ, this line of research offers great promise in that there is a comparatively simple way to engineer fresh tissues. Taken to its technical perfection, I could theoretically live forever on this fountain of regeneration.

Why did the AMA produce this position statement now? According to Art Caplan, a bioethicist at University of Pennnsylvania, it is because arguments are being made that challenge the idea that such embryos could ever develop into viable human lives. In other words the old arguments that allow for the “elimination of the weak” are being applied to such lives.

The AMA opinion was rendered with the help of medical ethicists. It appears that the only ethical problem that the ethicists encountered was the potential of generating imperfect life. The fact that they had trouble with reproductive cloning confirms the suspicion that they understand the product of cloning to be a human life. It is therefore quite safe to say that they have applied the word ethical to what is essentially a utilitarian argument against reproductive cloning. They do not have an ethical problem with “sacrificing” that same life for the therapeutic application of that child’s body to the treatment of someone else’s disease.

A few years ago the AMA established policies regarding the use of fetal tissue in therapeutics. The ethical position entitled: E-2.161 “Medical Applications of Fetal Tissue Transplantation” lays out strict guidelines that are aimed at preventing such abuses as informing the mother about the therapeutic uses of the aborted child that would influence her to choose abortion; allowing the abortion provider to profit from the therapeutic application of the aborted child; allowing the mother to designate the recipient of the child’s tissues, and so on. It is a remarkable piece of ethical sophistry, because the ethics of the very act of abortion are not called into question, just the ethics of influencing consent, and the financial consequences of the abortion. It is made all the more startling by the fact that every criterion established by E-2.161 is abandoned when the method of conception is shifted from ordinary fertilization to cloning. Now the person or persons producing the child produce it with the express intent of destroying it for therapeutic use, they de-facto designate the recipient, and they profit handsomely thereby.

This glaring contradiction focuses us clearly on the murderous sentimentalism that passes itself off as “ethics” that characterizes support for abortion in general, and the AMA’s policies in particular. The classic exceptions in the cases of rape and incest are the progenitors of this AMA policy. Essentially what is said is that the right to life depends on the motivation of the father. A child produced by evil aggression is something less than human, and therefore unworthy of life. This is also seen in the idiocy of state laws that call the murder of Laci Peterson’s child a second homicide, but if she had lived and walked into Planned Parenthood it would have been called a medical procedure to which she is entitled by constitutional law. According to this logic therefore, the right to life is a function of how the mother “feels” about the child.

This ethical self contradiction is the stock in trade of the AMA. In their policy on Partial Birth Abortion (H-5.982: “Late Term Pregnancy Termination Techniques”) the AMA expends most of its ink on objecting to the term “Partial Birth Abortion” as being inadequately “medical”. The AMA prefers the words Dilatation and Extraction (D&X). In explaining what a D&X is they describe partial delivery (birth), followed by “evacuation of the intracranial contents” to permit removal of the child (abortion). In this stupendous exercise in ethical circumlocution the AMA acknowledges:
-there is no identified situation in which partial birth abortion is the only option
-recognizes that it is generally unnecessary for the preservation of the life and health of the mother
-recognizes that such maternal health issues that would demand the termination of the pregnancy would be singularly extraordinary
-recognizes that the “viability” of the child would argue for the delivery of the child, and yet
-affirms the “right” to such an abortion on the basis of the Roe v. Wade decision, and does not in any way exhort the membership of AMA to counsel the patients against this barbaric act.

This avoidance of strong counseling is peculiar since the AMA goes to great lengths to exhort its membership to counsel against smoking, drunk driving and the ownership of firearms. When looked at more closely however it is entirely consistent. It is consistent because the AMA’s “ethics” are entirely utilitarian. The policy against smoking is also the policy that seeks to use tobacco money to pay for health care under the mechanism of the tobacco settlements. The policy against second amendment gun ownership is the same policy that seeks gun industry monies to fund inner city emergency rooms through litigation that is essentially a mirror of the tobacco law suits. So too we will be seeing obesity diseases managed by the plundering of the fast-food industry. In essence, the treatment of the disease is to be funded by the on-going profits of the very industries that are thought to produce the disease. No ethical problems there.

And so it is with cloning and fetal tissue research. The only issues of importance to the AMA are utilitarian. In his address to the membership in June 2002 at the annual meeting, AMA president Richard F. Corlin, MD bemoans the fact that physicians have been leaving or avoiding membership in the AMA for such reasons as participation in HMOs, and objection to the AMA’s policy on partial birth abortion. In his speech these two objections are given equal ethical weight. And what is President Corlin’s argument for putting these objections aside and joining the AMA? His argument is that by joining the AMA, doctors will more likely succeed in obtaining the more important goal of tort reform. Containing the cost of practicing medicine is more important than infanticide. This is the medical ethic of the culture of death, and the AMA is now its official wholesaler.

Is it unthinkable that an organization of such history as the AMA would be in the business of promoting homicide on the basis of ethics that treat particular groups of human beings as something less than human? I would remind you that the policy of “euthanising” the mentally feeble and justifying it on “quality of life” terms was formulated for the Nazi party by the then president of the German Red Cross.

I would encourage you to ask your doctor if they are a member of the AMA. If they are, I would encourage you to ask them to resign their membership, and to let the leadership of the AMA know that the resignation is precisely in objection to the organization’s policies on abortion, fetal tissue research, and human cloning. Encourage them to join one of the Christian medical associations, and to make their practice of medicine a sign of their faith. If they think these things are unimportant, find a doctor who views human life as important.

Dr. Pat Lappert serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for "Your Catholic Voice Foundation" and "Common Good Foundation". He is the Chief Medical Advisor of both and Chairs both of their "Medical Advisory CouncilsYour Catholic Voice FoundationCatholic Online". He, his wife Patrice and their "domestic church", currently reside in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska.
American Medical Association Endorses Human Cloning!

Even worse then that, they've embraced the "clone to kill" procedure whereby human beings are created in a laboratory, and destroyed for their stem cells.


We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled by AMA rhetoric. what they are supporting is the creation of life for the sole purpose of experimentation.

It's mad science, and we cannot afford to sit idly by while 260,000 doctors move to accept what is simply another form of abortion.

Grassfire is asking everyone who has a family doctor to help us put intense pressure on the AMA for their endorsement of the "clone to kill" procedure.

We need your help in two very specific ways:


In next three weeks, Grassfire will deliver 425,000 "Petition for Life" petitions on your behalf to the AMA in Washington, DC, expressing our outrage and offense, and urging them to retract their position!

However, we are about 30,000 petitions shy of our goal. But with your help we are confident that we can reach our goal in time for this important delivery.



Contact your family physician and let he/she know that you are offended over the AMA's endorsing of the "clone to kill" procedure.

Urge your doctor to oppose to ALL forms of human cloning, research or reproduction!

For the millions of Americans who believe life starts with two cells, this is an issue we simply cannot afford to let pass!

Thank you for taking action today!

Real Impact. Real Feedback. Real Results.

P.S. While Grassfire finalizes our delivery to the AMA, we ask that you take action with us by forwarding this important message to as many of your friends and family as possible-- urging them to take action with you by clicking on the link below.

P.P.S. Be sure to listen to our special Partial-Birth Abortion radio update (available after 12am, June 19). Click below to listen:




TOPICS: Culture/Society; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: abortion; abortionlist; ama; bioethics; catholiclist; catholicway; cloning; egg; embryo; ethics; fetaltissue; fetus; parkinsons; patlappert; prolife; theraputiccloning
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-24 next last

1 posted on 06/21/2003 9:31:34 AM PDT by Coleus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...
2 posted on 06/21/2003 9:33:38 AM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
No thanks. I always thought there should be lots more of me.
3 posted on 06/21/2003 9:49:55 AM PDT by gcruse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
If there are ethical physicians out there who still belong to the AMA now is the time to leave.
4 posted on 06/21/2003 11:06:37 AM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
Rest assured that those who think they know everything about the creation and
"editing" of human life...
won't have any problem exercising their decisions about what is a "useful life" when
we're reaching the end of our lives...
5 posted on 06/21/2003 11:08:52 AM PDT by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
Thanks for the heads up!
6 posted on 06/21/2003 11:11:57 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
7 posted on 06/21/2003 12:54:56 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
I resigned when the House of Delegates voted, with debate, to recommend that the FDA make "emergency contraception" over the counter. The AMA has never given up any other control over any medical procedure until that move.

I'm curious about the "without debate" part. I wonder whether the measure was somehow buried in the committee's recommendations. There's an elaborate system of exceptions of numbered portions of resolutions in order to bring them forward for debate.
8 posted on 06/21/2003 3:06:45 PM PDT by hocndoc (Choice is the # 1 killer in the US.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hocndoc
There's an elaborate system of exceptions of numbered portions of resolutions in order to bring them forward for debate.>>>

Sounds like what most politicians of either party does with certain bills in congress with pork-barrell spending, etc..., all those add ons,etc.
9 posted on 06/21/2003 3:15:28 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Coleus; gcruse
Yes, a few more like gcruse around these parts would be a good idea.

I would encourage you to ask your doctor if they are a member of the AMA.

Well, fewer than half of docs belong to the AMA now. Nevertheless, on this subject I say, 'good job, AMA'

10 posted on 06/21/2003 4:06:18 PM PDT by RJCogburn (He's a short, feisty fellow with a messed up lower lip.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
Let me see if I got this straight.
You are asking people to CLICK HERE on a petition by an organization named grassfire, about which not only do you know nothing, but you have expressed doubts:


I have reservations about them since I don't know who they are, why they do it, what is their mailing address and phone number and who is on their board. I've asked these "very simple" questions in about 30 e mails to them over the last 2 yrs. and have yet had one answered.

They must have some heck of a database on all us conservatives out there...Who knows maybe they are on the other side building information on us.

30 posted on 06/21/2003 6:21 PM EDT by Coleus"

It appears that you share their credibility.
11 posted on 06/21/2003 5:53:53 PM PDT by John Beresford Tipton
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: John Beresford Tipton
I will let them make their own decision, and "I" have doubts about the organization since they won't answere my e mails; obviously, many conservatives believe in the organization, probably you too, since many of their petitions contain hundreds of thousand of names. The main point to my post was the Catholic View of the AMA and I threw the grassfire stuff at the last minute.

It appears you are wrong.

So, since you are so observant, what have you to offer about the grassfire organization?
12 posted on 06/21/2003 6:01:55 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
Quit the AMA?

Too late ...Coleus.

I'm a doctor in new york, a radiologist, who quit the AMA in disgust more than a year ago..

...when the then President of the AMA started making noises that I saw as hostile to my Second Amendment rights under the Constitution.

They keep on asking me to rejoin..and I keep on telling them that hell will freeze over before I rejoin an organization that attacks my civil rights.
13 posted on 06/21/2003 6:15:14 PM PDT by Livfreeordi
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
"what have you to offer about the grassfire organization?"

Not a damn thing because I'm not pushing their poll.
14 posted on 06/21/2003 6:15:19 PM PDT by John Beresford Tipton
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
To be sure, the current arguments cite the embryonic clones being allowed to live for only approximately fourteen days, to allow sufficient stem cell division for differentiation, killing, and harvesting, but not to reach the fetal stage through implantation. Science will eventually figure out how to produce an artificial womb, and then these ‘non-human individuals’ will be raised into the fetal stages before killing and harvesting, you can be sure of that because tissues and organs of these cloned individuals will be more desirably differentiated.

Both types of somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning reproduce the donor; the chosen destiny for the newly conceived clone defines the procedure … a short lifetime for a harvesting target (so called therapeutic cloning), or a long lifetime as an individual identical twin (so called reproductive cloning).

Why is it important to realize that an embryo is a human being at an early age along a continuum of individual life? Because therapeutic cloning coupled with embryonic stem cell harvesting aim to cannibalize individual human life. Defenders of therapeutic cloning are seeking to characterize that ‘type’ of human cloning as non-reproductive, but the truth is, ALL somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning is reproductive, conceiving an individual human life. Defenders and promoters of therapeutic cloning deny that the embryonic individual life is a human being at that age of a lifetime begun at conception.

Tha AMA clearly support killing the newly conceived individual human being before further ages can be reached along the continuum of life begun at a designer, cloning, conception ... because of their utilitarian value regardless of their humanity.

The science of Embryology holds as fundamental truth that even an embryo no bigger than a grain of sugar is an individual human life. Is it acceptable to kill that individual for body parts? If it is, that's cannibalism as surely as eating body parts or whole embryos for medical cures. The AMA is squarely endorsing cannibalism, the cannibalizing of individual human embryos conceived specifically for their body parts, their stem cells.

15 posted on 06/21/2003 6:19:28 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Livfreeordi
Great good for you. I have to send a letter to my doctor who is a good republican and try to convince him to quit. I know of a lot of doctors who like to target shooting. Many use an outdoor range in northern NJ.
16 posted on 06/21/2003 6:31:13 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: John Beresford Tipton
Good, just what I thought.
17 posted on 06/21/2003 6:31:37 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Livfreeordi
Are there any real benefits for belonging to the AMA? It seems many just join after med. school because the organization has name recognition. Have you tried to get your peers to resign?
18 posted on 06/21/2003 6:33:52 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

Science will eventually figure out how to produce an artificial womb>>>

Now that is scary.
19 posted on 06/21/2003 7:06:01 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Coleus
They're close already, Coleus!
20 posted on 06/21/2003 7:15:07 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-24 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson