The Stem Cell Debate

Today on Slate, Michael Kinsley argues that stem cell research raises fewer moral and ethical questions than the everyday conduct of a fertility clinic.

He writes: “If embryos are human beings, it’s not OK to kill them for their stem cells just because you were going to kill them, or knowingly let them die, anyway. The better point—the killer point, if you’ll pardon the expression—is that if embryos are human beings, the routine practices of fertility clinics are far worse—both in numbers and in criminal intent—than stem-cell research. And yet no one objects, or objects very loudly. President Bush actually praised the work of fertility clinics in his first speech announcing restrictions on stem cells.”

In 2003, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed Resolution A014 which:

Urge[s] that the United States Congress pass legislation that would authorize federal funding for derivation of and medical research on human embryonic stem cells that were generated for IVF and remain after fertilization procedures have been concluded, provided that:

+these early embryos are no longer required for procreation by those donating them and would simply be discarded;

+those donating early embryos have given their prior informed consent to their use in stem cell research;

+the embryos were not deliberately created for research purposes;

+the embryos were not obtained by sale or purchase…

And, on a vaguely related matter, have a look at thispiece on advancements in genetic screening.

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