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Pretty is as pretty does

By Alisa Craddock
web posted August 14, 2006

Countess Erzsébet BáthoryCountess Erzsébet Báthory lives in legend and our imaginations as the Blood Countess of Transylvania. Known for the torture and murder of over 650 women and girls in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the most enduring legend about her is that she was an uncommon beauty (with pale, almost translucent skin and long black hair) and obsessed with remaining youthful and beautiful. According to legend, when she once slapped a servant girl so hard the girl's blood spattered back on her, she imagined that the skin where she had wiped the blood away was smoother, more youthful looking. And so, as the legend goes, she began a reign of terror, luring young girls to the castle under the pretense of working as servants so she could torture them, drain their blood and bathe in it.

Though the stories about Countess Báthory concerning her horrendous torture and murder of women are not the least exaggerated (and her status as a noblewoman made her virtually untouchable at the time), there is, in fact, no testimony on record of her actually bathing in the blood of young girls as an antidote to aging.

The same cannot be said of the grisly practice of using aborted fetuses to provide tissue and stem cells for beauty treatments at exclusive clinics around the world. In select countries where there is less regulation, such as Russia, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, and, of course, Rotterdam in ever-progressive Holland, upper-class women arrange through their beauty consultants to travel abroad for these chic and expensive treatments.

If the practice were not gruesome enough, an examination of the "business" side of this practice is most revealing. LifeSiteNews.com reports that doctors in Russia sometimes tell a girl that the child she is carrying is defective in some way and needs to be aborted. Sometimes he will tell her there is a medical reason to continue the pregnancy beyond the 12 th week when he wants a fetus to sell, which can net in excess of $9000 in USD. The typical gestation period of "harvested" fetuses is 8-12 weeks, but older fetuses are considered even more valuable because they supposedly have more of the so-called age-reducing tissue. The fetuses are extracted using a special technique that apparently extracts them whole with placenta intact. They are then cryogenically frozen and sold whole or in part to these beauty clinics where a woman might pay $18,000 for aesthetic stem cell treatments. It's utterly barbaric.

For those who don't already know, an 8-week pre-born child is a fully formed little person, with all the external and internal organs he's ever going to have. The heart has been beating for quite some time, and his kidneys are working, and his digestive juices are functioning. In week nine, she has fingerprints, by week twelve, she is turning her head, yawning, and flexing her little feet. S/he's a little person, a living human being. In our desensitized and sanitized world, would this be any less offensive if the harvesting were done to much less developed pre-borns, those who are not yet distinguishable as human beings?

Poor women are the ones predominantly being exploited, as usual. They are paid up to $200 to abort their children at 8-12 weeks so that the stem cells and body parts can be harvested by these abortion clinics. $200 to the mother, $9000 to the clinic. Quite a markup. In the Ukraine the law permits use of aborted fetuses for "medical research" with the permission of the mother, but under-the-table agreements between doctors and academics have created a kind of black market when the bodies are sold for illegal purposes. And the government clinics are making a ‘killing' from it as well.

As I contemplate the horror of this practice, I find it inconceivable that any woman could permit such a ‘beauty' treatment to be performed on herself, knowing where the "medicine" came from. It's in the same class in my book as if one wore a jacket made of tattooed human skin. It's horrible enough to destroy human embryos for legitimate medicine. However, the very idea of using tissue or cells from aborted children for beauty treatments is so ghastly it's incomprehensible how any woman could do so and ever look into her own face in the mirror again without the horror of her murderous vanity haunting her forever.

This is not the only selfish use of a terminated pregnancy that I've heard of that repelled me with its ghoulish audacity. I learned a few years ago about the practice of female athletes becoming pregnant before competing in Olympic games and then aborting before they compete so that they could reap the benefit of the increased strength and stamina the hormonal changes bring on during pregnancy going into the competition. Reportedly, as far back as the 1970's, according to one Russian athlete, Soviet competitors as young as 14 were ordered to have relations with their coaches to become pregnant, and then abort right before they competed. The practice has also been reported in the U.S. and is considered a form of blood doping, which is illegal. But it is hard to prove or to track. One wonders, though, at the callousness and moral detachment of someone who would conceive a human being for the express purpose of using it then aborting it to win a competition. And some people call the fetus a parasite. Who's the parasite now?

There is another dimension to this mentality that we need to consider, equally ghastly and disturbing. If doctors can encourage women to abort under false pretenses, or by paying them a few dollars, so that they can harvest the little bodies for resale, what about those adults in hospitals with severe or chronic conditions, those, say, who are brain damaged but not completely brain dead, but perhaps on a respirator. With doctors and "bioethics committees" and judges now making decisions about whose health care should be terminated based on their perception of your quality of life, what if you are listed as an organ donor? Might that not make you a more attractive candidate for euthanasia? Are there wealthy elites ready to buy your organs who might tempt hospitals or individual doctors to decide you're more valuable dead than alive should you find yourself in such a vulnerable condition? Will it come to the point that people will be afraid to be sent to a hospital?

The case of Leslie Burke, a British man with a degenerative brain disease, is a case worth looking at through this lens. He knows at some point he will not be able to communicate his wishes, but he went to court ahead of time to try and secure his right to live without having food and hydration withdrawn at some future date when he becomes unable to communicate. He initially won the case, but the British General Medical Council appealed the decision, and he ended up going to the European Court of Human Rights, who sided with the GMC, on the grounds that there was no immanent threat to him, and they were unwilling to make a ruling with such broad ranging implications. But their refusal to rule now to protect him while he can make his wishes known makes it more perilous for him later when he cannot.

Ironically, while this man, who is currently of sound mind and body, is fighting for his "right to life", the U.N. is getting ready to have another meeting to finalize the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the usual motley crew of anti-life forces, are there to try and get abortion and euthanasia codified as "rights". But of course, right to abort and right to die will soon become mandatory abortion and an obligation to die, when it is put into practice, especially when you can benefit so many by doing so.

(Shades of "Soylent Green").

Alisa Craddock is a political columnist and activist in the culture war, a convert to Catholicism, and describes herself as a Christian Libertarian. In addition to Enter Stage Right, her columns have been published on Alain's Newsletter and Out2 News. She may be contacted at acrock43_j@yahoo.com.


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