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Ethical Science Slips Bit by Brit

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By Tony Perkins

If two’s company, then three parents are a crowd! Unfortunately, Britain doesn’t see it that way and yesterday stunned the world with a vote to move forward with a highly controversial practice: the creation of three-parent embryos. Scientists have been nagging the U.K. to green light the experiments, which would use the DNA of three people to create one healthy embryo.

The goal is to “build” children that lack the disease-causing mutations (like diabetes, hearing loss, heart disease, and other conditions) in their mitochondria, the little energy factories in all of our cells. A jaw-dropping 382 British officials supported the measure, which destroys countless other human embryos in the pursuit of one genetically-perfected child. Around the world, people on both sides of the political spectrum decried the move, which creates more problems than it solves.

And not just ethically. Dr. Peter Saunders, one of Britain’s leading opponents of the bill, said, “These techniques are highly experimental, unproven, known to be very unsafe, ineffective, costly, a waste of public money, insufficiently understood, and will require large numbers of efforts to proceed, even for just a few families.” Of course, the kill-to-cure crowd has been around for years, but only recently has it gained new momentum.

As more governments drive out faith, the world is beginning to see the consequences. In the absence of moral absolutes, and the inability or desire to consider the unintended consequences we enter a dangerous new world. First three-parent embryos, then what? Animal-human hybrids? Human clones? Designer babies? Where do you draw the line? As C.S. Lewis warned, “What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.” Just because we have the power to experiment with life doesn’t mean we should.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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