LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Legalized abortion not only has torn at the social fabric of America, but it is sending the Democratic Party to its death, former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey said at the 50th anniversary seminar of the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission.
A pro-life Democrat who has been rejected in efforts to speak at the last two Democratic national conventions, Casey said of his party’s abortion rights advocacy, “You see, I believe abortion has destroyed the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. They’re headed for oblivion. They’re going the way of the Whigs in the 18th century, because Democrats always said, ‘We protect the powerless.’ It’s not true anymore.”
Casey, whose eight years as governor were marked by several reforms, was a keynote speaker March 4 at the three-day seminar at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky. He is best known for initiatives which made his state a leader in restricting abortion in the post-Roe v. Wade era.
“Twenty-four years ago, (abortion) was sold to America as a social cure or resolution. Instead, it has left us wounded and divided,” he said of the practice legalized in the Supreme Court’s Roe decision.
Abortion “tears at our soul,” Casey said. The issue is about “not how comfortable we will live, but how we will live with our conscience,” he said. “But beyond that, it tells us who we are.
“Our generation alone has made abortion a social good,” he said. This generation “has dared to call the victim a thing, the act a service, the perpetrator a provider, a health-care provider,” Casey said.
Both parties need change on the issue, he said.
“My party is off the charts,” Casey said. “What about the Republican Party? What about the party of Lincoln?
“What good is a 15 percent tax cut or a capital gains tax cut or a balanced budget or a college tuition credit to a nameless, faceless, powerless child who never had a chance to be born?” he asked.
“If we can’t protect life, what’s left?”
Yet Casey expressed hope for America.
The ground “is shifting under our feet,” he said, noting the Promise Keepers movement and the changes taking place on the abortion issue.
“The Southern Baptist Convention and those who stand with them have been one of the most powerful, galvanizing forces in refocusing America on the direction we’ve got to take if we’re to save our country, save our future by your position on abortion and euthanasia and gambling and hunger, pornography and racism,” said Casey, a Roman Catholic.
Among efforts Casey suggested to battle abortion were:
— Focus on communications.
— Bring about passage of the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act.
— Recognize the limitations of the partial-birth abortion ban. Pro-lifers “can’t let (the ban) become a safe haven” for politicians, he said.
— Persuade Congress to reject most favored nation trade status for China, which has a coercive population control policy.
— Influence Congress to hold hearings, to make findings of fact on fetal development and to change pro-abortion laws.
— Help women with crisis pregnancies.
— Make adoption a federal priority.
Clinton bans federal funding of human cloning research
By Tom Strode
WASHINGTON (BP)–President Clinton has issued an executive order prohibiting the use of federal funds for human cloning, a move applauded by a Southern Baptist biomedical ethicist but one he said is incomplete.
The president also asked for a voluntary moratorium on private research into cloning human beings.
Clinton acted in response to concerns such research on human beings might be nearing after Scottish researchers announced Feb. 22 they had cloned a sheep, the first successful duplication of an adult mammal.
“We agree wholeheartedly with the president. We would go further, however,” said Ben Mitchell, consultant on biomedical and life issues for the Christian Life Commission and assistant professor of Christian ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.
“Not only should government funding be withheld for the purposes of cloning humans. That’s not enough,” Mitchell said. “We need to make it unlawful for anyone to clone another human being. Furthermore, we need to call upon every nation in the world to make human cloning unlawful.
“Not only does this represent our deeply held religious belief, but our view on human cloning is consistent with the view of Americans. Nearly 90 percent of Americans believe humans ought not be cloned. We are not prepared as a culture to bear the responsibility this new technology would bring with it.”
In their semiannual meeting March 6, the Christian Life Commission’s trustees adopted a resolution commending the president’s action and calling on Congress to prohibit human cloning.
In announcing the order March 4, Clinton said his administration fears the current ban on human embryo research might not cover the cloning of human beings.
“My own view is that human cloning would have to raise deep concerns, given our most cherished concepts of faith and humanity,” the president said. “Each human life is unique, born of a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science. I believe we must respect this profound gift and resist the temptation to replicate ourselves.
“At the very least, however, we should all agree that we need a better understanding of the scope and implications of this most recent breakthrough.”
Clinton instructed the National Bioethics Advisory Commission Feb. 24 to study the ethical and legal issues of cloning and to bring a report in 90 days. In asking private groups to not attempt human cloning, Clinton said they should wait at least until the advisory panel and the country “have had a real chance to understand and debate the profound ethical implications of the latest advances.”
Some homosexual rights activists are pushing for research into human cloning, according to a USA Today report March 6. The activists believe cloning would provide homosexuals with a method of same-sex reproduction to help them survive as a group, according to the report.
The controversy over cloning was ignited when Ian Wilmut and his fellow researchers at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, revealed they had produced a genetic replica, named Dolly, from a 6-year-old sheep. Dolly was born in July.
While English law prohibits cloning research on human beings, there is no such law in the United States.