Friday, October 21, 2005

The political consequences of new techniques for obtaining embryonic stem cells

At, William Saletan lays out the ethical and political implications of research suggesting that scientists might be able to harvest stem cells from an embryo without harming it ("biopsy"):
If you've opposed federal funding of [embryonic cell] research on the grounds that embryos shouldn't be killed, biopsy solves your problem. The only people bound to oppose biopsy are those who 1) oppose [in vitro fertilization] because it's artificial or 2) object to exposing embryos to the same risks involved in [pre-implantation genetic diagnosis]. The billion-dollar question is which way President Bush will go. His past statements indicate that his concern is embryo killing and that he's looking for a way forward. Both factors suggest that he'd allow funding of research on ES lines derived from biopsy.


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