Stem Cell Sperm Advance Getting Some Attention

DrudgeReport: "Sperm from mice stem cells offers infertility hope..."
Discover: "Worldwide First: Stem Cells Turned Into Sperm Turned Into Living Animals"

It's nice to see the comments on the Discover article immediately ask the question of whether a woman could make sperm or not. Of course it is possible, no one could say with certainty that it is not possible, but it's not a question of that. It's more a question of whether it is a good public policy to spend our extremely limited resources on it, and whether it should be allowed to be attempted at all. To those questions, we can answer definitively: No! It is wrong to make embryos from modified gametes. And making a sperm from a woman certainly modifies her gametes, it creates sperm that do not represent an actual person.

There are better ways to help prevent infertility than to make an industry that manufactures people.


Maggie Wears Sheep's Clothing

NOM's Maggie Gallagher revealed a bit more of her Transhumanist Libertarian loyalties in an email she sent to a nomblog reader, who then posted it in the comments to nomblog's post about Clownfishgate.
Maggie's response on trans issues to an e-mail

"I do not have any developed views on this question--except I do not believe individuals have a right to expect they can change genders on a whim, or on a daily basis, and expect others to take it seriously. I'm much less concerned about transgenderism that requires permanent and substantive change (including surgery or hormonal treatment and petitioning the court). I may or may not agree with it--I have no clear developed views--but it will not affect the main question.

If it is possible to change gender, then it is possible--in which case it's an opposite sex union.

If it's not really possible, then it should not be possible. I do not have clear views on this"

Wow, so she seems to think that people should be allowed to change sex, that it is just a matter of whatever is possible. I don't think she is talking about mere cosmetic surgery when she says she's not concerned about transgenderism, I think I've alerted her to the possibility of "female sperm" and "male eggs" and she knows that's the real issue. I bet her "I do not have clear views on this" is her way of alluding to her contract with her Libertarian benefactors who have told her never to write about transhumanism or artificial gametes and to keep procreation rights out of the marriage debate. Her high-paying job is to make the public think that marriage is being defended and is still relevant after procreation rights are stripped from it.

It shouldn't be so hard for her to say that she thinks people only have a right to procreate as the sex they are born most likely to procreate as, with someone of the other sex. But she's never been able to come out and say that, I suspect because of a clause in her contract, which I bet Wesley Smith also has.

(I posted a diary about Clownfishgate on RedMassGroup We Are Not Clownfish.)


Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise Turns Five

It is hard to believe that May 9th will mark five years since I proposed The Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise.

For five years now, I have been promoting the Compromise by sending emails, visiting legislator's offices, calling staffers, handing our leaflets, blogging and commenting on every blog I could find where people are discussing same-sex marriage, explaining how same-sex couples that are currently denied equal protections could quickly get federal recognition and legal protections in almost every state in exchange for giving up the right to have labs create offspring for same-sex couples.

The Compromise is the same set of three laws as it was five years ago:
1) An Egg and Sperm law that prohibits conceiving a person by any means other than joining a man and a woman's unmodified gametes.
2) A law that would recognize state Civil Unions as if they were legal marriages for federal purposes, provided the state has defined them as "marriage minus conception rights."
3) A law that unifies the effect of state marriages as protecting the right of the couple to conceive offspring using their own genes.

It's been amazing to see people twist and squirm and refuse to compromise, choosing to stick with the status quo, even as they claim not to care about same-sex conception (on the pro-SSM side) or claim to care about preserving marriage (on the anti-SSM side). That's five years of same-sex couples suffering without recognition, five years of divisive legal battles and meaningless debates, five years that we could have been addressing urgent problems facing the country, but people have thrown us all under the bus because they are addicted to insulting each other.

It's time to grow up, everyone. Come together. Larry Kramer, the most effective activist for gay people, is getting old now, and he is frustrated with the current strategy.:
There are these issues now. It's just that you don't think of them as galvanizing, mainly because they're not so life and death. I cite marriage, although I'm sort of fed up with how long it's taken and I think we've gone about it the wrong way. I'm 76, and my partner is 64. I'll obviously die before he does, and the way the laws are written it's very hard to leave him anything of substance compared to what I have to leave. It all goes to taxes because we're not legally federally married and that's not fair, that's just not fair. You don't care about it at your age, but I care about it at mine, and there are a lot of older gays who should care about it as well. That should be a galvanizing issue. Anything that keeps us from being unequal should be galvanizing. I want what they have. I do. And everybody should. But again, people don't think that way.What has frustrated you about the move toward gay marriage in the country?

Just that it's taken forever. I don't think we should have taken the state by state approach because it just makes it go on, and then you have to re-sue and defend. Things need to go to the Supreme Court as fast as possible. There were ways it could have gone to the Supreme Court a lot earlier. If we lose at the Supreme Court, which everyone was afraid of, you just come back again. These [state] marriage we have don't amount to anything. They're feel-good marriages. They make relationships stronger and all that, but they don't amount to a hill of beans in terms of anything legal or financial. You still need to pay federal taxes and you don't get any of these benefits the government pays you if you're heterosexually married.
Can any young gay activist really tell Larry Kramer that it is more important to insist on having a right to try to procreate offspring with someone of the same sex than it is for him and his partner to be secure and be able to share each other's property? It's time to try a new approach, one that actually puts people first, rather than winning an unwinnable argument.


New Somerville article

Great new article from my hero Margaret Somerville of McGill on "Designer Children" or rather the Rights of Children. (hat tip FamilyScholars)
I propose that the most fundamental human right of all is a child’s right to be born from natural human biological origins and that children have human rights with respect to knowing who their biological parents and families are, and these rights must be recognized.
"Natural human biological origins" means from a man and a woman's unmodified gametes, not from stem cell derived artificial gametes or from two men or two women or cloned or whatever else.

This is great timing for Professor Somerville to remind us that same-sex couples just don't and should not have the right to have offspring together. When Congress debates DOMA, they should all take this issue into account. They should not inadvertently throw open the door to designer babies and a huge regulated or unregulated genetic engineering industry. Rather, they should recognize the right of children to be born from natural human origins by prohibiting creating children from unnatural origins, and preserve the natural right of marriage to create offspring, and recognize state civil unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights" as marriage for federal purposes.


Don't Defend DOMA, Replace DOMA

DOMA shouldn't be defended, it is bad law that creates work for lawyers but is a mess for citizens. It is bad to allow same-sex marriage in some states, and useless not to allow it in others. There are aspects of marriage that are fundamental rights which are due to every citizen of every state, and fundamental rights which states should be prohibited from abridging. Even Section 3 of DOMA is bad law, it fails to properly protect or define marriage, and only allows the government to save money on spousal benefits.

DOMA should not be defended, it should be replaced with the three laws of the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise which would truly defend marriage:

1) Prohibit the conception of children by any means other than the union of unmodified gametes.
2) Protect the inherent right of marriage to conceive offspring.
3) Federally recognize state Civil Unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights"

The first two laws are urgently necessary and would have immediate and long term benefits, and would avoid the costs and ethical issues of allowing use of modified gametes and regulating conception rights separately from marriage. It is really hard to justify not enacting those first two laws, or delay enacting them one minute.

The third law is not as necessary as far as society is concerned, but it still would have immediate and long term benefits for society, and would certainly benefit the thousands of same sex couples that lack recognition right now, and I think would be fair and compassionate and not cost too much.

DOMA could be replaced with the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise with minimal deliberation and would achieve Obama's and the vast majority's goals in a principled and permanent and politically acceptable way:

1) It would preserve marriage as a man and a woman in every state.
2) It would allow Civil Unions in every state with fully equal protections and rights, except of course for the right to procreate genetically-related offspring together.
3) It would prohibit cloning, human-animal children, and producing children for same-sex couples using lab created artificial sperm or egg.

Who in Congress is going to say that any of those laws would be bad? That the status quo is better? I know that the libertarians here and at GOProud are going to object, but they'll look silly doing so.