More on Stem Cells

Ramesh Ponnuru has been offering up clear-headed argumentation on the social conservative side of the stem-cell debate. Readers can follow the latest spat backwards from here, but I think this is a key paragraph:

President Clinton’s bioethics commission concluded that “the derivation of stem cells from embryos remaining following infertility treatments is justifiable only if no less morally problematic alternatives are available for advancing the research” (p. 53). More and more, it appears that such alternatives exist …

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Greg
Greg
14 years ago

Why can’t I authorize the unused embryos from my wife’s fertility treatment to be used in stem cell research?

Justin Katz
14 years ago

You can. You just can’t authorize me to pay for it via taxes.
(Now, whether you should is another matter…)

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

Why shouldn’t I?

Justin Katz
14 years ago

1. Because it involves the creation of human life with the intent to destroy it — commoditizing it in the process.
2. It “locks in” the pro-abortion argument about the beginning of life.
And an unnecessary: 3. Because other avenues exist toward the same end.

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

1. No, it involved the creation of human life with the intent to CREATE a baby. It’s customary to make more than needed. They will now sit in a warehouse until the clock runs out and they are disposed of doing no one any good whatsoever. So eventually they will be destroyed regardless. If given the opportunity, I would prefer they get a positive use.
2. Well, maybe it’s time to have a serious discussion about that. For example, I’m anti-abortion, but I’m a supporter of the ‘morning after’ pill.
3. You don’t know that and neither do I.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

1. How do you figure? You admit creating “more than needed [that] will now sit in a warehouse until the clock runs out and they are disposed of.” The only ways it could be plausibly claimed that you did not create human life with the intent to destroy it is if the embryos were created one at a time, each for an attempted implant, or if you intended to implant every single embryo with the intention (or at least acceptance) that each could result in a pregnancy.
2. A serious discussion about what? There seem to me to be fundamentally two arguments: A) a human life begins when the sperm and egg unite as a single organism with unique character that will (unless hindered) proceed, of its own volition, through the human life cycle, or B) a human life begins sometime after conception at which it is pragmatically convenient for the parents and society to draw the line.
3. Your objection is only valid if you’re presupposing the magic results that scientists keep theorizing might be in ESCR’s future. If the “ends” of which we are speaking are leveraging stem cell technology to treat diseases, then there are certainly other avenues toward it.

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

Tell you what. Why don’t you go do some research on how infertility is treated in this country and then come back and try to have an intelligent conversation about it.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Your unwarranted condescension notwithstanding, Greg, I do know how infertility is treated in this country. Your error is in assuming that I believe it to be a moral enterprise; I believe the opposite for precisely the reason explained above.
So I’ll tell you what: why don’t you develop the tolerance and patience to understand the honestly held viewpoints of those who disagree with you and then come back and try to have an intelligent conversation about anything?

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