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Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pro-Life Hero Dr. Clement Persaud


'A week-old embryo is a miniature person and should be accorded the most fundamental right: the right to life.'


South American-born Dr. Clement Persaud is a pro-life microbiologist who speaks on biblical responses to bioethical issues. An expert on cloning and embryo-research legislation, he has testified before government agencies in Canada and devotes much of his time to sanctity of life issues.


He is semi-retired and lives in Victoria, British Columbia, while advising MediStem, an Arizona-based company that uses only adult stem cells for therapy. He spoke to CitizenLink recently.


1. Ethical treatments using adult stem cells are gaining ground. Do you see public approval shifting to adult stem-cell research from embryonic stem-cell research?


The public is becoming increasingly aware that it is adult stem cells that are yielding therapies. Furthermore, recent reports of the reprogramming of adult cells to embryonic-like stem cells, without the destruction of embryos, will be an impetus in favor of adult stem cells.


A report (in July) from a Reproductive Biology Conference in Spain revealed a majority of 573 online respondents worldwide supported such (adult stem-cell) research.


2. It seems many are quick to dismiss the human embryo as nothing more than a glob of tissue. Talk about the worth of that embryo.


A week-old embryo, with approximately 160 cells, may be called a "glob of tissue." A single cell from that "glob" can be sexed as a male or female; the "glob" is immunologically and genotypically different from the mother, and is developing along the continuum of another human being.


It is a miniature person with different capacities, and should be accorded the most fundamental right: the right to life with a future of value.


3. How should someone respond biblically to those, even in Christian circles, who say embryonic research is not a problem?


Embryonic research involves experimenting with humans, manipulating them without consent, conferring no benefit to them, and mostly killing these tiny, defenseless members of the human family. Only God should determine the number of our days. A reading of the Old Testament shows God's deep involvement with embryonic life. Old Testament writers refer to life in the womb as yeled (a child). We cannot support destruction of that life, which bears God's image and is His sacred gift.


4. What is the biggest challenge facing those who hold a pro-life perspective?


In many places I visit in Canada and overseas, the majority of the audience are adults. The challenge is to attract more young people to the pro-life community.


A Canadian poll conducted three years ago found that the majority of respondents supported embryonic stem-cell research. However, when the respondents were informed that there was a viable alternative to embryo destruction, the majority then favored adult stem-cell research. The lesson in this poses the greatest challenge to pro-lifers in coming years: how to better educate the public concerning life issues.


5. How can we educate the public?


We need to be creative and winsome in showing the public that we care not only about life in the womb, but also the life of the mother, the physically impaired, the mentally handicapped, the person of color, and ALL of life, whatever its status. 


Contact: Kim Trobee

Source: CitizenLink

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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.