Lives of the embryo

An odd place to draw a line against stem cell research
“There is no such thing as a spare embryo,” President Bush declared, vowing to veto a bill that would allot federal money to support stem cell research on human embryos that were created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and have been slated to be discarded. Bush went on to call these embryos “real human lives” and to suggest that they were just as valuable as “the lives of those with diseases that might find cures through this research.” Tom DeLay, the Republican leader in the House, agreed with that claim, saying that to use the embryos for research would entail “the dismemberment of living, distinct human beings.”

The president has chosen an odd place to draw a line against stem cell research. There is little moral hazard in extracting stem cells from embryos that are going to be either destroyed or frozen indefinitely. Nothing is lost that would not be lost anyway, and something of enormous benefit may be gained.

 

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