Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What keeps my skin so young-looking?

Well, not mine, personally, since I keep mine looking wrinkle-free by filling it internally with another double-chocolate doughnut and a scoop of frozen custard... but, if this particular piece is true, then some folks are making their skins all pretty in a truly disturbing fashion:
Neocutis’ key ingredient known as “Processed Skin Proteins” was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland. Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin. The list of products using the cell line include: Bio-Gel, Journee, Bio-Serum, Prevedem, Bio Restorative Skin Cream and Lumiere.

The very idea that somebody took fetal tissue to turn it into a cosmetic treatment is seriously abhorrent. I can hear the justifications, already, though: "The thing was already dead, so what's the big deal? It would have gone to waste, otherwise."

Well, the thing is, the thing was a human being. It did not die a natural death, but was taken untimely. And now it's being used not to save lives, but to make somebody feel pretty. It's not entirely unlike like putting grandma out of our misery because her medical care is inconvenient to us, and then saying, "As long as she's not using them, can I have her teeth for a necklace and matching earrings?"

Granted, the article says the tissue sample from the aborted fetus was (a) donated willingly and (b) very small, and granted, most of the stuff (the "human growth factor") used in the cosmetic product is grown in a laboratory from said small sample. And, I'm sure people have built great medicines from small samples of stuff I don't really want to know about. I acknowledge that wonders come from unlikely and unseemly sources. Bread mold, pond scum, bee stings, snake bites -- who knows what unsavory thing will help cure the next big disease? Still, it seems to me this is an ugly little foot in the door to much more sinister possibilities -- and no, I don't necessarily mean "Soylent Green." Once we have a marketable product to be made from something only grown from aborted babies, how do we restrict the trafficking of the unborn for such a business? How do we prevent poor young girls from virtually reducing themselves to slaves of a new, modern sex trade? What other "unwanted" lives do we throw away to satisfy the unending hungers of hedonists?

Where is the line drawn on the value of life? What dollar amount marks the end of humanity?

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