Author Archive for Rebecca Taylor

Hope for 2013: Embracing Human Nature
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Hope for 2013: Embracing Human Nature

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Peering into the abyss of biotechnology, I have often mused that the problem with much of what goes on in fertility clinics and laboratories of the world is a denial of human nature. The denial that living human organisms, regardless of how they are created, are indeed human beings. They are small and immature, but […]

War on the Meaning of Christmas
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War on the Meaning of Christmas

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I recently saw a Jon Stewart monologue that really got me thinking. Stewart was making fun of Fox News’ “War on Christmas.” Stewart asks how could there possibly be a “War on Christmas” when Christmas, as a holiday, has become so bloated that this year it finally took over Thanksgiving. In 2012, before the turkey […]

Catholics Don't "Believe" Life Begins at Conception
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Catholics Don’t “Believe” Life Begins at Conception

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I don’t know how many times I have heard it. Well-meaning Catholics who say, “As a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception.” I have decided that my mission in life is to correct this miscommunication because it is that very line that lets everyone who is not Catholic dismiss everything we have to say […]

Boy Gets Kicked Out of School for His Genes
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Boy Gets Kicked Out of School for His Genes

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I spent many, many, many hours in the lab testing people for mutations known to cause cystic fibrosis (CF). CF is a genetic disease caused by mutations in a gene called the CFTR gene. If a person has a deleterious mutation in both copies of his or her CFTR gene (one mutation inherited from dad, […]

Transhumanism in <em>The Amazing Spider-Man</em>
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Transhumanism in The Amazing Spider-Man

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The other day my family made me sit down and watch the new Spider-Man movie, The Amazing Spider-Man. I don’t know why they had to make yet another Spider-Man flick, but for the sake of family unity I cuddled up on the coach and watched. Recently, I hit a bunch of unsuspecting Catholic women at […]

Genetic Modification: Bad for Cows and Corn, but Okay for Humans?
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Genetic Modification: Bad for Cows and Corn, but Okay for Humans?

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As a former California girl, I am aware that my state of origin is full of contradictions like women who are on the Pill eating nothing but organically grown produce. Back in 2004 Californians overwhelmingly voted with Prop 71 to publicly fund embryonic stem cell research with billions of dollars because they were told that […]

Clarification on Pro-Life Objections to iPSC Technology
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Clarification on Pro-Life Objections to iPSC Technology

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Last week I wrote about some pro-life objections to induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology. Yes there are some objections surrounding iPSCs, but I hold that iPSCs themselves are not inherently immoral. Cell lines of illicit origin have been used in developing this technology (and unfortunately are used ubiquitously in many areas of research), and […]

Answering Pro-Life Objections to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research
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Answering Pro-Life Objections to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Research

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There has been a lot of talk about Dr. Yamanaka and his work on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) since he won the Nobel Prize earlier this week.  There have even been some rumblings that pro-lifers should not be so happy about iPSCs since they are not “100% pro-life.” Before I list the objections that […]

Scientist Who Developed Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Wins Nobel Prize
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Scientist Who Developed Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Wins Nobel Prize

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The man that envisioned a better way than destroying human embryos to get embryonic-like stem cells has won the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka developed the technique to take an adult cell and reprogram it to an embryonic-like state as a way to avoid the destruction of human embryos. Dr. Yamanka’s reprogrammed adult […]

Mother-Daughter Uterus Transplants
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Mother-Daughter Uterus Transplants

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I have seen a lot of marginalization of children with artificial reproductive technologies, but I think this may take the cake. Never in my life have I encountered such a callous disregard for the health and well-being of a child that is so supposedly “wanted.” Two women have donated their wombs to their daughters. A […]

The Story of Bill and Jill Green
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The Story of Bill and Jill Green

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Since the Obama administration is so fond of fictional narratives, I thought I would write one too about Bill and Jill. Bill and Jill Green are entrepreneurs. The Greens met in college studying environmental engineering. Bill and Jill immediately knew they were destined to not only marry, but change the world together. After graduating, the […]

Does the State Have Your Child's DNA?
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Does the State Have Your Child’s DNA?

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I hate to be so sensational, but I think it is important for parents to understand that your child’s DNA maybe stored in a state government facility and you have no idea. Impossible, you say? You know that heel stick that your child got in the hospital right after birth?  Some states keep and catalog […]

Singer and Savulescu: 1-2 Punch of Death
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Singer and Savulescu: 1-2 Punch of Death

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Everyone knows about Peter Singer, the utilitarian ethicist that argues for everything from euthanasia to infanticide and who recently wrote an op-ed suggesting that just being human doesn’t give you a right to live. Many people do not know about his protégé Julian Savulescu. It is time to start paying attention. Who is Julian Savulescu? […]

Key West Says No to "Robo-Frankenstein Mosquitoes"
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Key West Says No to “Robo-Frankenstein Mosquitoes”

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Dengue Fever afflicts millions of people around the world. It is a virus that is spread by a specific mosquito, the Aedes aegypti. Dengue fever can develop into a more serious disease Dengue hemorrhagic fever which can be fatal. Aedes aegyptiis native to Africa, but has spread to other areas including the southern United States. […]

Oak Tables and the After Life
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Oak Tables and the After Life

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I am no theologian.  I know there are probably theological treatises on what happens in the afterlife when we die. I just know there is an afterlife.  How do I know?  My grandma’s oak table. My grandmother, Iris, was Italian.  Her family immigrated to San Francisco from Genoa.  She and my grandfather, also descended from […]

Being Pro-Life 3.0
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Being Pro-Life 3.0

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This characterization of the many facets of being pro-life is so brilliant I wish I could say I thought of it.  Scott Rae, in an interview with John Stonestreet at BreakPoint.org, brings the pro-life movement into the 21st century in an attempt to get us all to wake up to the perils we are facing. […]

Owning Genes
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Owning Genes

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While the country breathlessly waits for the Supreme Court to decide on Obamacare, there is another court battle to keep an eye on.  This battle may not be as critical as the one on our health care system, but it is still important for the health of anyone with DNA. For decades the U.S. Patent […]

"Reproductive Rights" and the Brave New United States
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“Reproductive Rights” and the Brave New United States

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When I talk to my fellow Americans about biotechnology, they have this idea that all the bad stuff will happen in places like China and that the horrors of Huxley’s Brave New World will never happen here.  Cloning, human genetic engineering and the like will happen somewhere else, but not in the good ol’ USA. […]

Supreme Court Rules: No Benefits for IVF Children Conceived After Parent Dies
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Supreme Court Rules: No Benefits for IVF Children Conceived After Parent Dies

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The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that children conceived posthumously with IVF are not entitled to Social Security survivor benefits.  In 1939, the Social Security Administration put in a provision that allowed dependent children to collect their parent’s benefits as survivors.  In 1939 they did not have a crazy fertility industry willing […]

Catholic Confusion on Enhancements
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Catholic Confusion on Enhancements

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I have to confess that I am a bit disheartened.  I find that my fellow Catholics are having trouble really connecting with the Church’s teaching regarding genetic engineering.  Some very smart, thoughtful and faithful Catholics are having difficulty with the distinction between gene therapy, which is genetic engineering to fix a genetic pathology, and genetic […]

What Biotech Needs Most
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What Biotech Needs Most

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Over the years, I have given a lot of talks on biotechnology.  I have one on the ethics of genetic testing, one on the ethics of human genetic engineering and one on stem cell research and cloning. My talks, especially the one on cloning, are not all uplifting and feely-good.  Most people come in all […]

Post Traumatic Confession Disorder
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Post Traumatic Confession Disorder

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I am a cradle Catholic, but my family was not very good about going to confession regularly.  It is possible that because my parish priest growing up was beyond liberal, my parents wanted me nowhere near him.  Or maybe my liberal parish didn’t offer confession regularly.  (The attached school made us say, “In the name […]

US Supreme Court Rejects Gene Patents
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US Supreme Court Rejects Gene Patents

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For 30 years, the U.S. Patent Office has been issuing patents for naturally occurring genes.  About a fourth of our genes are patented by companies who are looking to make a profit off of a molecule we naturally make in our bodies. Objects of nature are not patentable so genes should not be patentable either.  […]

Our Bodies, Our Biotechnology
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Our Bodies, Our Biotechnology

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Most woman do not realize how valuable they are.  I am not talking about cooking, cleaning or raising the kids while bringing home the bacon.  I am talking about their biology.  So many of the culture wars today are on the battlefield of the female body because of our awesome pro-creative power. There are many […]

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