Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ethical Responsible-ness-ity

Bush blows raspberries toward another stem cell research bill:

Vetoing the bill a second time Wednesday, Bush also sought to placate those who disagree with him by signing an executive order urging scientists toward what he termed "ethically responsible" research.

Bush announced no new federal dollars for stem cell research, which supporters say holds the promise of disease cures, and his order would not allow researchers to do anything they couldn't do under existing restrictions.

"If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers for the first time in our history to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos," Bush said. "I made it clear to Congress and to the American people that I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line."

It is, however, "ethically responsible" to continue to fund embryonic stem cell research fueled by the blood of potential babies gathered prior a certain date:

On 9 August (2001), eager to please everybody, especially his conservative supporters, Bush tried another form of compromise, in a well-worded speech that suggested personal agony, as well as political astuteness. Bush reminded listeners, in a reference to use of fetal tissue transplants for Parkinson's disease, that promising scientific endeavors do not always succeed. He ruled that the government could fund research on stem cells that had been derived before, but not after, 9 August provided that they came from embryos left over after fertility treatments (thereby excluding the embryos created specifically for research by the Jones Institute).

The compromise was that the government should not encourage destruction of more embryos, but since the damage had already been done in the case of cells derived before 9 August, and the potential to treat disease was real, use of these cells should be funded. Bush's well-worded speech did not please everyone, though most conservatives (with the notable exception of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops) have remained quiet. Many scientific groups, including the American Society of Human Genetics, have offered cautious praise, largely because the statement sets a precedent for federal funding, which they hope may be expanded if preliminary research succeeds. Bush's statement is illogical and without a basis in principled reasoning. There is no reason, beyond the political, why it should be ethical to use stem cells from blastocysts killed before the arbitrary cut-off date of 9 August, but not afterwards.

It also must be "ethically responsible" to allow the killing fields in the private sector to continue, provided they are not funded by taxpayers:

Federal funding for research involving mouse embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells (both mouse and human) is currently available and is not restricted. However, federal funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells is limited to research involving only those cell lines that were approved by the Bush administration in August 2001. In contrast, no restrictions in the type of research that can be performed with private funds are in place.

You know, like how homicide is allowed as long as it's for-profit.

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