Opinion: Apply the Clinton Test Before Using an Embryo for Spare Parts


Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – If there is a “Senior Democratic Statesman” these days it is former President Bill Clinton. He has clearly become the "Ex-President in Chief" He can be found pontificating regularly on almost every public policy issue. He presents himself well, dresses impeccably and is usually a poised, articulate and interesting interview, even when I disagree with him. So, it was only natural that when Dr. Sanjay Gupta, himself a talented communicator, was scheduled to interview the former President on CNN’s “Larry King Live”, I wanted to be a part of the large viewing audience. After all, Gupta’s capacity as a communicator was certainly part of the reason that the current administration sought his assistance as Surgeon General, a position which he declined.

There was one part of the interview which deserves an overused word as a descriptor, it was simply “astounding”, in the negative sense of that word. Perhaps better, it was simply dumbfounding! I present it in full for my readers, with some emphasis added by me to make the point of this piece:

Gupta: Let’s talk about something you talked a lot about in the early part of your presidency, stem cells. There was an order today providing federal money for embryonic stem cell research. First of all, let me just ask you, as someone who studied this, is this going to always be as divisive an issue as it is now? Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation? Or are people going to come around?

Clinton: I think - the answer is I think that we’ll work it through. If - particularly if it’s done right. If it’s obvious that we’re not taking embryos that can - that under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies, and I think if it’s obvious that we’re not talking about some science fiction cloning of human beings, then I think the American people will support this….

Gupta: Any reservations?

Clinton: I don’t know that I have any reservations, but I was - he has apparently decided to leave to the relevant professional committees the definition of which frozen embryos are basically going to be discarded, because they’re not going to be fertilized. I believe the American people believe it’s a pro-life decision to use an embryo that’s frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research…. But those committees need to be really careful to make sure if they don’t want a big storm to be stirred up here, that any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use. There are a large number of embryos that we know are never going to be fertilized, where the people who are in control of them have made that clear. The research ought to be confined to those….

But there are values involved that we all ought to feel free to discuss in all scientific research. And that is the one thing that I think these committees need to make it clear that they’re not going to fool with any embryos where there’s any possibility, even if it’s somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings.

Now, after reading this, you see why it merits the words “astounding” and why I was “dumbfounded”. Jill Stanek, the Pro-Life Champion Nurse who exposed the evil practice of intentionally killing babies who survived abortion, and then connected our current President and his then Church and denomination with the practice, first called attention to this interview. She is a modern day Joan of Arc, leading the resistance against the jaws of the Culture of death in an age filled with emasculated men and sadly deluded people; I say “Thank you Jill”. In my dream administration of the future, she would hold a position of great importance helping to oversee health care.

Now, beside the fact that the Doctor’s failure to correct the former President’s error in the interview concerning the most mundane FACT of embryology, namely that to be an embryo the human ovum must be fertilized, the Doctor’s performance in the interview made me doubly glad he withdrew his name from consideration to be the top Doc of the United States. This man is a brain surgeon. He certainly knows this fact.Every single embryo has already been fertilized. Why did he not correct the former President?

Now, there are only two explanations for this blatant error in the former President’s response to Dr. Gupta's questions. Either he was not aware of the SCIENTIFIC, BIOLOGICAL FACT that human embryos are all fertilized and are all slated for full development if they are not killed through the extraction of their stem cells. Or,and this is the only other option, that he was intentionally lying in order to further the propaganda effort surrounding the current Administrations brutal assault on human life in its earliest days. However, this interview is one more invitation to all who are Pro-life, that we must speak up for human embryonic Life if we ever hope to stop the spread of the Culture of Death.

In 1987, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See issued its “Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation”. Among the many questions it answered was: “What Respect is due to the human embryo, taking into account his nature and identity?” The answer: “The human being must be respected - as a person - from the very first instant of his (her) existence.” At the time this Congregation was headed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. On September 8, 2008, the same Vatican Congregation released “The Dignity of the Person”. As is the custom with “magisterial” documents, the title of this instruction was taken from the first line, “The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death”. The document noted, “This fundamental principle expresses a great “yes” to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research, which has an ever greater importance in today’s world.”

In the Instruction, the Congregation made this extraordinarily important observation: “Just as a century ago it was the working classes which were oppressed in their fundamental rights, and the Church courageously came to their defense by proclaiming the sacrosanct rights of the worker as person, so now, when another category of persons is being oppressed in the fundamental right to life, the Church feels in duty bound to speak out with the same courage on behalf of those who have no voice. Hers is always the evangelical cry in defense of the world’s poor, those who are threatened and despised and whose human rights are violated”.

The former President seems to have laid out in this interview the verbal strategy which will be used as this Administration seeks to defend the indefensible, the use of embryonic human beings for spare parts. This is a part of pursuing embryonic stem cell research, a discredited approach to the otherwise wonderful science of stem cell research. This kind of “research” always kills the human embryo and has never been demonstrated to bring any real results. Other forms of stem cell research have produced wonders, such as adult stem cell research and the use of stem cells derived from fetal cord blood. However, embryonic stem cell research will be apparently now be spun by the former President and all who follow his lead, as not involving the use of fertilized eggs, when bioligally an embryo IS a fertilized egg. In fact, a human embryo is a human being, in development as we all are.

For those who believe that this deception will be quickly exposed by the Medical community who know the truth, please remember how many Doctors for centuries pledged the Hippocratic oath which contained this paragraph: “I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.”

Perhaps we should simply ask that the Executive Order signed by the President which opened up this deadly form of research on human embryonic life now contain what should be called the “Clinton Test”. Here is the "Clinton Test": Before any human embryo can ever be used to extract stem cells for research, it must be proven scientifically to have not yet been fertilized. Hmmm….....the result would be terrific. No Embryo's would ever be killed for this deadly research because they are all fertilized. Now, as I conclude, I hope my readers will get the point of this opinion piece. Let me state it clearly. President Clinton is either not aware of the truth that every embryo is already fertilized or he is participating in obscuring the truth and encouraging a deadly result in the process.