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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.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Seeking Common Ground
The following column ran in the Tallahassee Democrat on Sunday, October 8, 1989. It was written by a local columnist, Mary Ann Lindley, who is now the paper's Editorial Page Editor. Jack, who saves every piece of paper he thinks he might need some day, saved this column. The original, cut from the newspaper long ago, is yellowed with age, creased with accordion folds, and marked with notations in both pen and ink. And when Jack came across it one day last week, he decided its central message is just as relevant today as it was 18 years ago. He thinks this is the day he was saving it for, when it would be needed again. And you know what? He's right. Here it is with Mary Ann's kind permission:
Instead of combativness, seeking common ground
Somewhere a doll lies still; somewhere there's a dress unworn, designer jeans remain upon a shelf. Somewhere a stereo lies silent; somewhere out there's a little girl unborn.
For the Tallahassee mom who wrote "A Song for Mandy," the abortion choice she once made for convenience, and then gave no thought to for years, eventually resurfaced.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Well, He Did it Again
From The Washington Post
Bush Vetoes Bill to Expand Stem Cell Research
By Michael A. Fletcher
Wednesday, June 20, 2007; 3:20 PM
President Bush vetoed legislation this afternoon to expand federally funded embryonic stem cell research, as the White House sought to emphasize scientific advances that would allow researchers to pursue the potentially life-saving work without destroying human embryos.Read the rest of this frustrating news here.
A Starting Point Before Setting Out
Readers of this site tend to have their minds more or less made up before coming here -- which, indeed, is what makes it imperative that the two sides focus on the things they have in common, rather than beating one another up about their differences.
A good place to start -- the most basic of "things they have in common" -- are the simple facts of stem cell research. Figure out and agree on what we're talking about, and then maybe (maybe) we can begin to draw up guidelines about what to do with the facts. All of this is one reason why I especially appreciated a recent post by Catherine Morgan, of the BlogHer site: "What You Might Not Know About Stem Cell Research."
Now, Ms. Morgan certainly has an opinion on many of the questions at hand. Yet she's posted a 12-minute YouTube video dispassionately explaining stem cells in general, adult vs. embryonic stem cells, and so on. (You can watch the video here if you don't want to read her commentary.)
Do Libs Understand Morality?
The following was posted on Iowa Voice by Brian, Tuesday, June 12, 2007
USA Today has an article up on embryonic stem cells and includes this quote:
Last fall, a political ad featuring actor Michael J. Fox shaking and swaying from the effects of his Parkinson’s disease focused white-hot attention on the battle over research on embryonic stem cells.(My emphasis)
Mr. Zucker, you obviously haven’t been paying attention, because MANY people have answered, and far more eloquently than I’m about to.
Read what Brian has to say here..
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Coincidence or Nefarious Plot?
The Washington Post, Sunday, June 10, 2007 --
Thursday, June 7. After months of intense lobbying by scientists and patient advocacy groups, the House is ready to vote on legislation that would loosen President Bush's restrictions on the use of human embryos in stem cell research. But that very morning, the lead story in every major newspaper is about research just published in a British journal that shows stem cells can be made from ordinary skin cells.Although the bill passed easily, the margin was not large enough to override Bush's promised veto.
Continuing reading the article.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Another Salvo in the Stem-Cell War
As with just about every other flash-point issue confronting the world today, clever presentations of one perspective or another tend to be reductio ad absurdum-style exaggerations of the opposing point of view. Here's a recent example, from YouTube.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
A Hat Tip to Consistent Lives
Those of you who've visited this blog over the years know that those of us posting here tend (more often than not) to a left-of-center perspective. But, as our mission statement says, "We hope to both start and then further dialogue regarding the beginning of human life" -- and in order to have a dialogue, we recognize that we have to acknowledge the validity of what might be called "responsible opposing points of view."
One of these points of view, I've always thought, has been the principled stand taken by religious (especially Catholic) proponents of the pro-life/anti-abortion position. Such folks are not fiery, single-issue hard-liners. Rather, they assert not just that abortion is wrong, but so is war, capital punishment, and a host of other "liberal" bugaboos.
Consider the organization known as Consistent Life. Originally, they identified themselves as the Seamless Life Network, taking as their central metaphor an episode from the Gospel of John's account (chapter 19:23-27) of Jesus's crucifixion (emphasis added):
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be."For an excellent introduction to the "seamless garment"/consistent-life vision, see the 1984 lecture by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. Also useful are many of the essays published at The-Tidings.com by Father Richard McBrien. (Note: McBrien is often lacerated by more conservative Catholics for his reasonableness -- reasonableness being seen, evidently, as a vice rather than a virtue.)
Here's the Consistent Life mission statement:
We are committed to the protection of life, which is threatened in today's world by war, abortion, poverty, racism, capital punishment and euthanasia. We believe that these issues are linked under a 'consistent ethic of life'. We challenge those working on all or some of these issues to maintain a cooperative spirit of peace, reconciliation, and respect in protecting the unprotected.While one might take issue with any one of those "threats," it's impossible not to admire the spirit standing in opposition to them.
Roe v. Wade
Stem Cell Fight!
Bush the hypocrite
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