Capitol Hill Children’s Event Places Spotlight on Human Embryo Adoptions

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 23, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Capitol Hill Children’s Event Places Spotlight on Human Embryo Adoptions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 23, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Children with a unique story filled the halls of Congress on Wednesday to tout their adoptions. However, their parents didn’t pick them up from a hospital or group home.

These children were adopted as human embryos and implanted into their mother’s wombs. As a result, they were spared dissection in fatal science experiments to be adopted into loving homes.

Known as "snowflake children" — each child is unique, like a snowflake — these babies adopted as human embryos are now healthy children no different from their peers.

For the groups and lawmakers sponsoring Wednesday’s press conference, the kids are living proof of the lives taken during embryonic stem cell research. In the unproven research, scientists destroy dozens, if not hundreds, of human embryos for their stem cells.

"These families highlight the essential fact that human embryos are human beings deserving the full love and protections granted any child," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

"We hear so often in the debate over embryonic stem cells that the harvesting of stem cells from embryos does not destroy a human life, and yet these Snowflake children prove otherwise," Perkins explained.

The children were adopted under a program run by the Nightlight Christian Adoptions agency whereby a tiny unborn child who might otherwise be destroyed is given to a couple unable to conceive naturally.

There are an estimated 400,000 frozen human embryos in fertility clinics across the country. A study earlier this month by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University indicates that 84 percent of clinics throw out "extra" embryos created during in in-vitro procedures.

The study showed that 76 percent of clinics offered the adoption option; 60 percent, disposal of the embryos before freezing; 54 percent, disposal after freezing; 60 percent, donation for scientific experimentation; and 19 percent, donation for training doctors.

Though adoption is a potential, sponsors of the event say more needs to be done to make couple aware that human embryos are available.

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) says the Nightlight Christian Adoptions program is a way to "take these little children and give them the potential to live the rest of their lives as the gifts from God that they are."

The families of the adopted children at the Congressional event also say they oppose rescinding President Bush’s August 2001 policy preventing taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research.

"While some claim that embryonic stem-cell research might help my (paraplegic) husband walk again, we know that it can never be an option for our family," said Kate Johnson of Pennsylvania.

Johnson and her husband Steve are the parents of Zara, a little girl whom they adopted as a human embryo.

"Look at Zara: Would we trade our daughter for chance to have Steve able-bodied again," Johnson asked. "Yet, some members of Congress advocate destroying vulnerable embryos no different from what Zara was at this early stage of human development."

Members of Congress co-sponsoring the news conference included Santorum, Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Florida), Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Virgina), Rep. Mark Souder (R- Indiana), Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona).

Related web sites:
Nightlight Christian Adoptions –