I read a life-impacting book this morning by Robbie George, Princeton Law Professor, entitled “Embryo.”  The book makes the case from scientific, political and technological arguments that embryonic life is inherently worthy of protection from destruction.  Although Professor George is a committed Christian and member of the Catholic Church, he does not rely upon religious principles to make his case.  Although those principles are convincing to those who already believe, they do not carry weight with the general audience George is seeking to influence.

One segment of the book addresses the contention by proponents of embryo destruction that govenment should not involve itself in deciding personal moral issues.  George responds by pointing out the three legitimate functions of government:

1) to protect the public safety by the use of military [against external threat]  and/or police force [against internal threat];
2) to promote the public welfare and to increase the opportunity for individual success;
3) to establish just laws that prevent tyranny and other abuses of raw power.

From a genetic viewpoint alone, an embryo, or even a zygote, has the essential DNA of being a unique human being.  Given fairly minimal opportunity, the nascent human DNA will, in a self-contained way, develop increasing complexity leading to an adult being we ordinarily accord full constitutional protection.  Professor George makes the case that government has a fundamental duty to protect and provide for the continuation of embryonic life.  This duty is especially true in an advanced civilized society that establishes laws to protect the weak and helpless against the violence of the strong and powerful.

As an attorney, I particularly valued Robbie George’s comprehensive statement of the functions of government.  I am saddened by how our culture, and yes our government, disregards its fundamental duty to protect human life that has the full potential to reach advanced stages of development.

(c) 2011 FXP