In his article of embryo freezing (January 27), Martin Scicluna chose to confuse the debate by dragging in partisan politics and religion. Half his article focused on the disparate views different religions have on ensoulment and at what stage of one’s existence one acquires a soul. This is just a red herring and totally irrelevant to whether an embryo is a human life entitled to be defended.
He complains that we are subject to Catholic morality and drags in the issue of paedophilia to insidiously suggest that evil behaviour by certain members of the Church therefore disqualify its participation in any debate on ethics and morality.
To discredit pro-life movements, he attributes to them arguments they do not hold and then dismisses them as the fruit of sentiment and presumably of superstition.
Scicluna should realise that the Embryo Protection Act was the fruit of months of intense debate and study at every level and that included legal, medical, political and ethical considerations. In short, it was exhaustively reasoned out after considerable and rational consultation.
The success rate of IVF governed under this protocol has proved satisfactory and equivalent, if not better, than IVF that used embryo freezing. As a regular columnist, Scicluna might take the trouble to read the report published recently by a team of hiaghly-qualified experts in various fields who defended the Embryo Protection Act by concluding that changes are not reasonable nor necessary.
If this sounds like mumbo jumbo, or some form of coercion by a domineering Church, he is either uninformed, unfair or has ulterior motives to play up to the whims and vested interests from certain quarters.
Scicluna should know that in the so-called progressive Western world, money talks and reproductive technology is highly lucrative, consumer driven and market based, and that children are increasingly being regarded as commodities.
Unlike Scicluna, pro-life NGOs do not favour an attitude which will have a long-term negative impact on how we value life.
When pro-life groups draw the public attention to the intrinsic worth and human dignity of embryos and to the grave risks of devaluing life once they are not given the safeguards they deserve, the public is not being misguided. An embryo is not an ovum, nor a spermatozoon nor any kind of living cell.
The great endocrinologist and research scientist, George W. Corner, described the creation of an embryo by the fertilization of an egg by the sperm as one of the greatest wonders of the world, describing it as a “spectacle that can be compared only with an eclipse of the sun, or the eruption of a volcano”.
Of the bands of the spectrum of our life, the embryonic stage is the most momentous and dramatic, yet is overlooked because it occurs at a microscopic level. To place an embryo on the same level as other human cells is the fruit of crass ignorance or a deliberate attempt to misinform the public.
Every stage of the development of a human being is of profound significance, be it at the earliest and most critical stage of embryonic life or that of an elderly person with failing health.
Peddling the argument of personhood is a cheap attempt to deny the rights of the embryo.
One’s freedom ends when other’s rights are placed at risk. The weak and the vulnerable deserve more robust legal protection because they cannot defend themselves. To legislate laws to undermine this reasoned principle is patently unjust.
One does not need to be religious to reason things out. And the truth is not determined by the number of people who uphold it. The inviolability of our human dignity ought to be a non-negotiable pillar of ethical regulations.
Such a core value should not be surrendered to the mood of majority decisions.
History has shown us where such flawed reasoning has led us. Abortion is one of the fruits of such thinking and has resulted in the decimation of Western society.
One hopes that as a truly secular society we will not confuse issues by dragging in caricatured portrayals of religious belief and instead stick to sound rational arguments.