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Babies for Sale: New Law May Spark Boom in "Human Parts" Trade

New Jersey's “Clone and Kill” law, only a few weeks old, already shows signs of ushering in a boom in the state's biotech industry. But the boom may not last long.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon,
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New Jersey's “Clone and Kill” law, only a few weeks old, already shows signs of ushering in a boom in the state's biotech industry. But the boom may not last long.

Congress is already drafting legislation to put a stop to the sale of human organs for profit, according to Joe Murray of the New Jersey Family Policy Council.

For the time being, however, the commerce in human body parts, many of them taken from aborted babies, is likely to flourish in New Jersey and throughout the United States, thanks to laws such as the one enacted here in January, said Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics, Texas.

Moloch's Menu

New Jersey's Clone and Kill law permits “research involving the use of human embryonic stem cells” [necessitating the killing of the embryos] and “somatic cell nuclear transportation” [human cloning]. It gives in vitro fertility “patients” the right “to make an informed and voluntary choice regarding the disposition of any human embryos remaining following the fertility treatment.”

Now, where might this lead? Consider this selection, this Moloch's menu, from Michael Savage's The Savage Nation.1 Writing about “the unholy harvest” of human body parts for profit, Savage said:

Companies such as Opening Lines of Kansas City, Missouri, were making even millions more until their operation was exposed for the atrocity it was.
Do you want an “unprocessed” baby? It's $70.
Do you want the baby's bone marrow? $250.
Do you want the baby's eyes? $75.
A spinal column will run $850.

This information, and more, Savage quoted from an Opening Lines advertising brochure.

Life Dynamics exposed Opening Lines in a three-year investigation, 1996-99.

“It was hot for a while,” Mark Crutcher said. “Senators and Congressmen were calling us every day.”

But it didn't stay hot. Although it reached as high as a hearing before a Congressional committee, the investigation fizzled out for lack of political support, Crutcher said while Opening Lines changed its name, moved out of Kansas City, and out of public view.

“We're doing things in America every bit as bad, as abominable, as anything they do in China, where they ‘harvest' body parts from political prisoners and have compulsory abortions,” Crutcher said. “And new laws, like this one in New Jersey, will increase the incentive to do such things and make it all worse.”

Especially if other states enact similar laws, which they'll do if their biotech companies start moving to New Jersey or California (where a Clone and Kill-type law was enacted last year).

Blood Money

Clone and Kill includes language apparently intended to discourage IVF patients from selling their frozen leftover embryos.

A person shall not knowingly, for valuable consideration, purchase or sell or promote the sale or transfer, of embryonic fetal tissue for research purposes however, embryonic fetal tissue may be donated
‘[V]aluable consideration' means financial gain or advantage, but shall not include reasonable payment for the removal, processing, disposal, preservation, quality control, storage, transplantation, or implantation of embryonic fetal tissue. (Emphasis added.)

A person who violates this ban on buying and selling embryos, the law says, risks a maximum fine of $50,000 or a maximum prison sentence of five years, or both.

“The law's language is ambiguous and open-ended, and invites abuses,” Crutcher said. “‘Reasonable payment' is an open question, isn't it?”

The biotech industry, Joe Murray said, is the fastest growing industry in New Jersey and is rapidly acquiring great political power. “Today it's the most politically influential industry in New Jersey,” he said.

It's difficult to see how the prospect of a $50,000 fine (assuming a violator were actually caught, convicted, and sentenced) would deter a multi-million-dollar biotech company in pursuit of research breakthroughs that could mean profits in the tens of millions.

Egg Donors Wanted

Less than a month after Clone and Kill's enactment, newspapers in New Jersey ran a large ad for the in vitro fertilization clinic: “Earn $7,000 as an Egg Donor.”

“This kind of thing has been in place for a few years,” Murray said, “but now, with this new law, it'll be wide open.”

An interview with a principal at the IVF clinic ended abruptly as soon as Chalcedon brought up the subject of “extra” embryos. These “remainders” are frozen and put in the legal custody of the “patient,” the clinic spokesman said (before he chose to say no more). The clinic's website, ivfnj.com, says the clinic has been in business ten years and provided babies to more than 1,000 couples, claiming a better than 60% pregnancy rate for in vitro fertilization procedures and better than 70% when the egg is donated. If a procedure results in an unwanted multiple pregnancy (“a very low incidence of triplets or higher”), the clinic will provide a “reduction” of the unwanted fetuses (translation: abort them).

As of May 2003, these fertility procedures had generated approximately 400,000 frozen embryos in the United States.2

According to the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, only from 10 to 20% of fertilized eggs go on to become normal pregnancies.3 An IVF.net news article cited a report by the federal Centers for Disease Control saying that there were some 40,000 in vitro pregnancies in 2001, representing a success rate of 10 to 20%, and approximately 107,000 in vitro pregnancies in 2003, with a success rate of under 20%. 4

Using these figures, we can calculate that for every in vitro baby that is born, between four and nine wind up as frozen embryos.

That's a lot of frozen embryos (human babies) waiting to be “donated” for “research purposes.”

They can also be implanted in surrogate mothers, grown for up to 9 months and then “harvested” for body parts. So says New Jersey law.

Congressional Response

It seems this is all a bit too rich for conservatives in Congress.

Murray attended a Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in Washington , D.C. the last week in January, where he learned Congress was drafting legislation to stop the commerce in human body parts.

“This legislation would undercut the whole impetus of Clone and Kill,” he said. The legislation is still in the planning stages, he added, and although it was discussed at the CPAC meeting, no details were immediately available.

Mark Crutcher, however, said Life Dynamics' experience made him less than optimistic about the effects of new legislation.

“When we revealed that the abortion clinics were selling,” he said, “the Republicans in Congress were behind us because the abortion industry is tied to the Democrats. But when we revealed that the pharmaceutical companies and research universities, including major donors to the GOP, were buying, the Republicans quickly lost interest. So we dropped it because no one cared anymore.”

Notes

1. Michael Savage, The Savage Nation ( Nashville , TN : World Net Daily Books/Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002), 113.

2. Rick Weiss, “400,000 Human Embryos Frozen in U. S.,” Washington Post, May 8, 2003.

3. www.jonesinstitute.org/watch_blastocysts

4. www.ivf.net , January 7, 2004, information provided by the American Life League.


Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon

Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.

Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.

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