Treating Embryos as a Commodity

SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, March 7 — The nation’s first public embryo bank has opened at a secret location in San Diego. Stem Cell Resource is collecting leftover embryos from in-vitro fertilization clinics and plans to send them to stem-cell researchers around the world, the San Diego paper said.

The bank was started by Dr. David Smotrich, a San Diego in-vitro fertilization doctor. In a typical in-vitro fertilization process, a patient has six to 10 embryos. Two or three are implanted during each attempt to impregnate a woman, thus leaving most patients with unused embryos in cold storage. Stem Cell Resource has 869 embryos. The Rand Institute estimates that there are at least 400,000 frozen embryos in storage at fertilization clinics around the United States.

Commented Patrick Lee, professor of philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville, “These so-called ‘masses of cells’ have the full human genome.”

Wal-Mart Will Sell Emergency Contraception

TIME, March 5 — After months of debate, Wal-Mart has decided to carry the controversial “morning-after pill,” also known as emergency contraceptive Plan B, in its 3,700 pharmacies, said the weekly magazine.

Originally the retailer said that it did not carry the drug because of low demand, but legal action in Illinois and Massachusetts forced the company to stock the medication in those states.

“Rather than try to fight these state by state, it just seemed like the right time to begin to sell emergency contraceptives,” said Mona Williams, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.

Pro-life advocates were disappointed with the news. Said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, “It’s a capitulation to the strong-arm tactics of the abortion lobby.”

Missouri Legislator Seeks Christianity Resolution

JOPLIN GLOBE, March 8 — A Missouri lawmaker has filed a resolution affirming Christianity as the state’s majority religion, reported the Globe. The House resolution states that the majority of Missourians are Christians and that elected officials should “protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object.”

Rep. David Sater, R-Cassville, filed the resolution, which was approved by the House Rules Committee. The resolution is not a bill, and therefore cannot become a law.

Critics of the effort described it as a political ploy to make Christianity a dominating force in state politics.

“It’s one more attempt to create a theocracy,” said Brett Shirk, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.

But Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, said, “We have raised the beliefs of atheists above the beliefs of Christians in the public sector, to the point that we infringe upon the rights of Christians.”