Thursday, August 24, 2006

In the news: Rational opposition to new technique?

Well, early signs are that taking one-eighth of a blastomere for use in stem-cell research will not pass the moral objections of the president or congressional science foes. Snip from NYT:
With the approach of midterm elections, in which some candidates are already making the research a central theme, some scientists speculated that President Bush might embrace the new method as meeting his principal objection to the research and showing that he had been right all along to wait for a better technique to turn up.

But Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, suggested that the new procedure would not satisfy the objections of Mr. Bush, who vetoed legislation in July that would have expanded federally financed embryonic stem cell research. Though Ms. Lawrimore called it encouraging that scientists were moving away from destroying embryos, she said: “Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions. This technique does not resolve those concerns.”
Congressional Republicans who led the resistance to the embryonic stem cell legislation that had bipartisan support in the House and Senate also said the new technique did not ease their opposition. Brian Hart, a spokesman for Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas and a prominent opponent of federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, said Mr. Brownback's moral objection remained.
"You are creating a twin and then killing that twin," Mr. Hart said.

Really, this smacks of the same kind of thinking that opposes birth control methods that prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus on the ground that a fertilized egg is a teeny tiny person, a microscopic Haley Joel Osment swimming around in the mysterious human hot tub that is the female reproductive system. On the other hand, it's hard to be surprised by Sam Brownback's weirdness, after the whole snowflake thing.

Link to NYT.

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