SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

TAXPAYER-FUNDED HUMAN EMBRYO DESTRUCTION: MY VOTE IS FOR VETO. Growing attention is being paid to legislation just passing through the House of Representatives that would devote more taxpayer dollars to the immediate destruction of human embryos for embryonic stem cell research. One sometimes wonders if many members of Congress never find a spending program they don't like.

DeRoy Murdoch has an excellent article about the funding of embryonic stem cell research at NRO.

I oppose the legislation in question, and support President Bush's commitment to veto the legislation. This would be the first exercise of a veto by this President and I think the occasion would most certainly merit it.

Some of the President's critics falsely claim that the President has banned stem cell research in America. Not so. And that would be an extraordinary act of executive power were that true. But the claim is false. The President allowed the use of federal funds for human embryos that had been destroyed--but he did not allow for taxpayer dollars to fund the destruction of further human embryos for harvesting. States and private companies are still free to fund and conduct embryonic stem cell research. And nothing prohibits the morally UN-problematic exerimentation with adult stem cells. An editorial from Thursday's OpinionJournal correctly sets the record straight in this regard.

My overall stance is this: ban all human cloning, and prohibit the use taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research. This means that some embryonic stem cell research will take place outside of taxpayer funding, but it still outlaws the growing of human life for the sole purpose of destroying it and using it as raw materials. (If you're unfamiliar with this issue, then the distiction will probably make little sense to you and I suggest you do some research.)

And so, I also think the editorial is right to commend the President for his willingness to protect the dignity of human life:

...we're glad Mr. Bush is at least drawing a line somewhere. His critics often sound as if the promise of scientific progress raises no ethical questions and is itself a kind of moral trump card. Millions of Americans also want to draw a line, and that includes not being forced to pay for destroying human embryos.

NRO has a recent Q&A with Wesley J. Smith--conducted by Katharine Jean Lopez. The whole thing is interesting and I found myself having difficulty narrowing down only one or two passages worth quoting. But I'll quote a couple interesting points nonetheless.

Despite the disheartening fact that Legacy Media appears unwilling to cover adult stem cell successes or the clearly define the terms and issues at stake, Smith notes the strong opposition to human cloning that is still pervasive in this country and beyond:

...Much of the world is turning away from human cloning. The United Nations General Assembly voted by a nearly 3-1 margin to urge member nations to outlaw human cloning. While a few countries like Great Britain decided to be unilateralist on the issue, many nations have already outlawed human cloning, including France, Canada, Australia, and Norway. Indiana just became the seventh American state to ban cloning. If enough countries and states reject cloning and fund adult/umbilical-cord-blood-stem-cell research (along with the private sector), I believe sufficient treatments will be developed so that even the New York Times will be forced to report on the progress. At that point, public support for therapeutic-cloning research would likely collapse and the vast continuing public investment of tax dollars needed to further develop and perfect human-cloning technology would peter out. At least this is what I hope would happen, which is why so many people — conservatives and liberals, religiously oriented people and secularists, pro-life and pro-choice on abortion — are working diligently to continue to hold the line.

And as Smith makes clear, this is an area in which the President has the opportunity to do some important work:

...I would like to see the president personally calling attention to major adult-stem-cell successes as they occur, successes that are almost routinely ignored by major media. He could also tour adult-stem-cell-research facilities and bring patients who have been treated with adult/umbilical-cord-blood stem cells to the White House for events. This shouldn’t be an occasional mention, but an enthusiastic ongoing political effort engaged in with the president’s usual energy, verve, and gusto...

(North Seattle--Green Lake, WA)


  • At 10:42 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    "States and private companies are still free to fund and conduct embryonic stem cell research."

    I don't know why some people haven't figured this out. The media makes it sound like anyone who is working on ESCR (embryonic stem cell research) is breaking the law. Not. so. I was part of a panel discussion on ESCR for one of my graduate classes (my degree is in microbiology) and I was the SUPER-minority anti view. I found a ton of excellent reading material at Stand to Reason. They really helped me make a solid argument. If you're looking for further reading and logical anti-ESCR arguments, that can even be made without necessarily mentioning religion (although it is a Christian site) I highly recommend them!


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