Media Release 6 June 2021
The Minister of Health, the Hon Andrew Little, supports changing the guidelines to allow more human beings to be made available for scientific experimentation that entails their destruction. Human embryos are human beings, they are not a commodity to be used by the strong to exploit and destroy.
Right to Life is opposed to all experimentation on human embryos and their destruction. We believe that we should follow the commendable example of Austria, Germany, Russia and Turkey which prohibit such violations of human rights.
In March, the Minister directed the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology [ACART] to consider recommending that the guidelines be extended from 14 days to 28 days for experimenting on human embryos. Beyond two weeks is the point at which a spherical embryo starts to form a body plan, deciding where its head will end up, and when cells begin taking on specialized missions. This is a slippery slope that could with medical advances see embryos kept alive for much longer.
The Minister was quoted in the media as stating, “if we want that research to happen and want to have the medical and health benefits to go with it, then we need to change the guidelines.”
Human life begins at conception, at the moment of conception the new human being is endowed by its Creator with human rights, the foundation right being an inalienable right to life. The human embryo is the weakest and most defenceless member of the human family that deserves our respect and protection; It should be accorded the respect due to the human person.
The human embryo is the most persecuted member of the human family.
It is frequently conceived unnaturally in a petri dish. It is scrutinised and rejected if the wrong sex, or if surplus to requirements, frozen for up to five years for possible future use or if not used, then it is discarded.
There are between 5,000 and 7,000 human embryos frozen in storage in New Zealand; this treatment violates the human rights of the embryo and is a crime against humanity.
This is science without a conscience. It requires denying the status of the human embryo as a human being. The Minister shamefully made this denial of the humanity of the human embryo when he presented the Abortion Legislation bill to Parliament for its first reading on the 8th August 2019.
Referring to abortion, he said; “Some regard it as a denial of life or a breach of human rights, and we will hear extravagant language in the public debate about this referring to “killing” and “murder”. I reject those notions. I accept on legal and moral grounds the established jurisprudence in New Zealand that human rights do not accrue until human life is possible, and that the widely accepted human rights that we all understand apply when they are capable of being exercised, which is to say I accept the “born alive” principle that guides our courts today.”
Right to Life believes that the Minister, in denying the humanity of the human embryo, it’s right to life, and his acceptance of scientific experimentation on, and destruction of the human embryo, is upholding the same anti-life philosophy of Dr Josef Mengele.
It was at Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II, that Dr. Mengele denied the humanity of those Jewish children, who were cruelly and inhumanly experimented on and killed in the cause of “medical science”.
These were crimes against humanity and were condemned at the Nuremburg war crimes trials in 1945-1949.
Appealing exclusively to the future benefits that may come about from research on human embryos, the Minister obscures the broader ethical issues associated with the wilful destruction of human life.
Sufficient account needs to be taken of the moral harm associated with the destruction of human embryos, including the wider repercussions for society.
Right to Life