July 19, 2001
While inconsistent pro-life Senators are
While inconsistent pro-life Senators are caving left and right, President Bush has still not said the federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research. All the talk about the possible benefits from such research ignore the basic question of the debate: does a human embryo have the same rights as any other person or do they have fewer rights because of location or advancement of development? Reason's Jacob Sullum understands this point when he writes, "Regardless of the benefits promised by stem cell research, its moral status cannot be decided without addressing that question."
Then there's the economics of stem cell research. While many tout the possible treatments from embryonic stem cells, in the June issue of The American Spectator (sorry, not online) Scott Gottlieb notices the much of the financing into the research is going to companies using adult stem cells. Right now, the market thinks the quickest, most profitable success is with adult stem cells rather than ones from embryos.
But regardless of where the science could allow us to go with the help of capital markets, using unborn humans as means to (well intentioned) ends violates the sanctity of human life, individualism, and autonomy. Those three ideas are some of the backbones of Western Civilization. From those ideas billions of people have been given the chance to live free and prosperous lives. Let's not turn our backs on those ideas just to take advantage of scientific slavery.