Fear of the truth takes RCRC off focus

An email from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) dated March 9 carried the headline: “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice President Applauds Obama Stem Cell Research Policy”. It was written by The Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey, President and CEO of RCRC.

It caused me to wonder. What possible reason could The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) have to “applaud” President Obama’s Stem Cell Research Policy? Why would they have any interest in embryonic stem cell research? How does it relate to their mission “to ensure reproductive choice through education and advocacy and… to give clear voice to the reproductive issues of people of color, those living in poverty, and other underserved populations.” Why does The RCRC need to speak publicly on the issue of embryonic stem cells?

In the email, Rev. Veazey reveals his prejudice against “right-wing religious politics.” Then he trots out the list of religious organizations (sadly including the PC(USA)) that have made statements supporting embryonic stem cell research. Most of these organizations also speak out against cloning. Veazey doesn’t mention that Obama’s policies would allow cloning by any private organization. Embryos created by the cloning process could then be used in any research funded by taxpayers like you and me. His email leaves the erroneous impression that the only human embryos that would be destroyed by stem cell research would be those already slated for destruction---“leftover” embryos from IVF (in vitro fertilization). [The routine creation of excess embryos for IVF and their subsequent destruction is yet another example of our moral confusion about human life in its earliest stages of development]. Veazey is either misinformed about the effects of lifting the current ban on use of embryos in stem cell research, or he is ignoring the truth in an attempt to make Obama's policies seem less immoral.

To get back to my original why question, I believe The RCRC’s real motivation for speaking out publicly in support of Obama’s policies on stem cell research is fear. They know that if embryonic stem cell research is banned it will serve as an affirmation that a unique human life--a new person--is present in that embryo at fertilization. They know it will result in the moral comprehension that the human embryo is a tiny ‘person of potential’ and not merely ‘potential life’ or a ‘potential person’.

The RCRC is well aware that if the public accepts the truth that “a person is a person no matter how small” (Dr. Suess, in Horton Hears a Who) and they apply that truth by banning embryonic stem cell research, it is only a matter of time until they also apply that truth to abortion. Fear is the motivation. Fear that we might believe the truth.

Members of the PC(USA) should be informed that three entities of our denomination hold membership in RCRC: The Washington Office, Women's Ministries, and Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options (PARO). PARO is one of the networks of Presbyterian Health, Education, & Welfare Association (PHEWA).


  1. Excellent insight, Marie. We should not just unthinkingly accept this relationship between endorsement of embryonic stem-cell research and advocacy of "reproductive rights". Thanks for pointing it out.


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