A White House spokesman is quoted as saying that the Bush administration is "very supportive" of the legislation and that "By intensifying support for non-destructive alternatives, we can advance medical research in valuable ways while respecting ethical boundaries. But it's mistaken and/or misleading to describe the proposed legislation as a solution to the ethical problem of embryonic stem cell research. Experimentation on already dead embryos poses no problem. However, harvesting stem cells from living embryos is destructive in that it terminates the embryo's life. That the embryos are going to die anyway because they can't survive in the womb is ethically irrelevant. A consistently pro-life stance acknowledges the intrinsic value of every human life and rejects pleas to take innocent life on the grounds that death is inevitable and countless other lives could benefit.
There appears to be a puzzling inconsistency in the administration's thinking. As the article points out, President Bush last year vetoed a bill providing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research because "he said taxpayers should not support research on embryos at fertility clinics, even if the embryos would otherwise be destroyed. Now he says that federal funding for destructive embryonic stem cell research is acceptable because the embryos to be used would otherwise be destroyed, only this time in the womb.
The Isakson bill is a compromise - a moral one.
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