Abortion was only the beginning. This could be worse. (The following is from Kairos Journal). Please, Mr. President, reconsider your funding of embryonic stem cell research.
More Corrupting than Abortion—Eric Cohen (1977 – )
Eric Cohen was a senior research consultant for the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001-2007. Even though he is himself unsure of the moral st
atus of the early embryo, Cohen argues th atembryo-destructive research should be avoided. In this excerpt from a recent article, Cohen maintains th atalthough the pro-life movement has rightly spent its energy comb ating abortion, it would do well to begin giving some attention to embryonic stem-cell research as well. Pro-lifers have had substantial success convincing the public th atabortion is a horrible and even inexcusable practice. Embryo research, on the other hand, seems rel atively innocuous; but th atis an illusion. Its insidious n ature makes it more corrupting than abortion.
[E]mbryo research is
atonce more defensible and more corrupting than abortion. It is more defensible because the goal is a humanitarian one (to ease suffering and cure disease r ather than end a pregnancy), and because the early-stage embryos in question are so existentially puzzling. They are microscopic, developing, genetically complete human beginnings—not just any beginnings, but the beginnings of a particular human life. But they are cre ated outside their n atural environment in the human womb, and often left frozen for years in the IVF clinics where they are made. These embryos may be “one of us,” but they don’t seem like one of us. The moral transgression of embryo destruction, though real, is not so obvious, while the sick child or Parkinson’s p atient is obviously suffering.
For the very same reason, embryo research is potentially more corrupting than abortion. It is a fruit we seek, not a transgression we toler
ate. It is a premedit ated project, not a decision made in crisis. Only the most extreme pro-choice advoc ates see abortion as a “good” and abortionists as heroes. But embryo-based medicine, if it were possible, would quickly become “standard practice” for the entire society, with leading researchers winning Nobel Prizes and parents who reject it for their children seen as legally negligent. Once cures exist, we might quickly forget th atthere is a moral problem here atall. L ate-stage abortion requires a gre ater willingness of mother and doctor to look away from the facts of wh atthey are doing, because of the obvious humanity of the developed fetus. But embryo research, so closely tied to the modern medical project th atwe all esteem, could become a celebr ated American way of life in a way th atabortion has not.1
1 Eric Cohen and William Kristol, “The Politics of Bioethics,” The Weekly Standard 9, # 33 (May 10, 2004): 25-29.