The letter by Victor Reilly on Sept. 25 contains several inaccuracies.
First, he states "no one denies that the fertilized egg is living, but that is not the point." No, that is precisely the point. Every human being begins as a fertilized egg. That is a scientific fact, and anything else is speculation.
Second, there have been many pro-lifers who have been concerned about artificial means of conception precisely because of the moral dilemma of what to do with the extra embryos.
Catholics have been concerned about this for over 30 years, and a cursory search of the Internet reveals that Protestants and Evangelicals have also become concerned about this moral issue. If one is to be consistent in their pro-life beliefs, then this should concern them.
Third, prior to 1965 conception was "fertilization of an egg by a sperm" and was changed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists so that patients would not be concerned about the abortifacient effects of birth control pills. However, even on their web site this is the definition they use. (http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp126.cfm).
Fourth, the destruction of embryos in fertility clinics may not be abortions, but it is still the destruction of human life and morally wrong.
Finally, many who are pro-life would readily agree with Mr. Reilly's conclusion. If we are going to be consistently pro-life, then we should be opposed to any practices in fertility clinics that will lead to the destruction of human life.
As to the "valuable stem cells," Dr. David Hess, chairman and professor, Department of Neurology Medical College of Georgia, has testified before Congress that the need for stem cells can be achieved morally with the use of adult stem cells.
Patrick Mongan, M.D.