12 April 2007

Congress and Stem Cells

The Senate struck a blow for science yesterday, albeit a futile one:
In a largely symbolic act, the Senate voted Wednesday to lift restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. President Bush has vowed to veto the measure, as he did last year, and backers acknowledged they don't have the votes to override him.
I don't really understand the objections that lawmakers have to embryonic stem cell research, especially since it would use embryos that are created by fertility clinics and then not implanted. It seems wasteful not to do research on them.

Speaking of which, why don't conservatives speak out more often against fertility clinics, if they really are convinced that life begins at conception? Wouldn't that mean that fertility clinics are guiltier of orchestrating mass slaughter than abortion clinics are? After all, abortion clinics don't actively create embryos that they know will never develop and be born, whereas fertility clinics must do that. Eh.


Anonymous said...

You're right. To be consistent, the idea that life begins at conception should make fertility clinics a problem, and some people certainly do approach them that way (though usually only if it is Teh Lesbians using it).

But I think most people recognize that calling the combination of a sperm and egg, frozen and perpetually waiting for a womb or to be thrown out--to call that small group of cells a person is problematic.

Given the complete inability for those cells to become a human being without a womb, I would argue that at very least humanity can't start until successful implantation in the uterus.

In the end, fertility clinics are a moral good because they let the infertile have children. Letting embryos be wasted when they could be saving lives seems like a political move designed to appease the base, not any real morality or science.

Unknown said...

Please note Bush's support for the alternative bill using adult stem cell research before condemning him as antiscientific. In the meantime, please point out one cure that embryonic research has been able to accomplish that adult cells have not?

You may have a point about fertility clinics. Perhaps the prolife movement can address that after the abortion clinic problem is taken care of. :) In the meantime, the idea of growing humans for body parts, especially children/embryos that have no say in the matter is surely raising troubling morality issues for you?