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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog
We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
More on Embryo Culling
In a column entitled "Better Than Sex: The growing practice of embryo eugenics," today's issue of Slate has this from William Saletan:
What flaws are we screening for? That's the most uncomfortable question of all. Sometimes the flaw is a horrible disease. But increasingly, it's a milder disease, the absence of useful tissue, or just the wrong sex. If you think it's hard to explain where babies come from, try explaining where baby-making is going.Later in the column:
Once you screen for one gene, it's tempting to screen for others. The woman who's targeting arthritis, for example, added that gene to an already-planned test. Another patient, described in the same article, set out to scan his embryos for colon cancer and ended up chucking two more for Down syndrome. "You kind of feel like you shouldn't be doing it," his wife confessed. "But then why would we go through all of this and not take those extra precautions?" Soon, you're hunting even for dormant genes. A PGD technique unveiled three months ago can find genes that won't harm your child but might, if combined with other genes, cause disease in a later generation. British patients are already asking clinics to filter out embryos carrying such genes.So while our president vetoes an embryonic stem-cell research bill on moral grounds, prospective parents are discarding embryos right and left in their search for the perfectly healthy child. I'm not comfortable criticizing those parents (yet), but Bush's simplistic approach to bioethics is woefully inadequate in our futuristic society. He's never been known for asking hard questions or dealing with complex, multi-layered issues, and we have no reason to believe he will begin doing so now.
For at least the next two years, our best bet is at the state level -- that's where we'll see government funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Then we can only hope that the federal government will join in after Dubya departs the White House in 2008.
Roe v. Wade
Stem Cell Fight!
Bush the hypocrite
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