Monday, September 14, 2015

The New Dark Ages

Historians used to refer to the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Reformation as the "Dark Ages".  It was a time of little scientific, economic or social advancement in Europe.  The main reason for that was the power vacuum created by the retreat of Roman soldiers from most of the continent was filled by the Roman Catholic Church.  Biblical doctrine was treated as the law--and any idea or belief that challenged those tenets was punishable by death--despite the clear scientific proof that the Holy Book was flat out wrong.

A bill up for consideration in the state Assembly this month harkens back to those days of the Dark Ages--as Republicans want to ban the use of tissue from aborted fetuses for scientific research.  Nevermind that some of the biggest medical and genetic science breakthroughs have come from the use of fetal tissue over the past forty years.  Forget that treatements for cancer and Alzheimer's Disease are likely going to come from that research as well.  Because some people believe abortion is a sin, we need to stop science in the name of religion.

What supporters seem not to understand is that the ban will not stop any women from going into a Planned Parenthood clinic to terminate a pregnancy.  They aren't going to think "Oh, those cells can't be used for scientific research?  Well then I'll just keep the baby!"  So those aborted fetuses will end up in the garbage--like a candy bar wrapper or the scraps from a microwave lunch--instead of possibly allowing one, or a dozen or a million people to live a better life someday in the future.

Were the Planned Parenthood undercover videos purporting to show fetus shopping offensive? Yes.  Were they likely edited to make the clinic workers look as bad as possible?  Yes.  Is what was depicted in them common practice in Wisconsin?  Likely not.  So why think you should "punish" cutting edge researchers at UW Madison or the Medical College of Wisconsin by cutting off access to fetal tissue that holds so much promise for ALL of humanity?  It was that kind of thinking that kept Europe in misery, disease and poverty for centuries in the past and threatens to do it again.

The next thing you know, we'll be going to war with the Muslim world for control of the Middle East.

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