Worth repeating (stem cells research)

With the recent judicial decision on embryonic stem cell research (Saletan’s got the best take), my discussion board got into a pretty good discussion of the matter.  I was about to write a post on it here, but thought surely it was something I had addressed before.  And yes, I wrote a post on it 4 years ago.  Since my blog readership has probably gone pretty dramatic turnover since then, I’m reposting it in its entirety…

One thing I have always admired (even when I disagree) about the Catholic Church (of which I am a member) is its commitment to moral consistency (something I would not say about the pro-life movement in general).  One glaring inconsistency has always really bugged me, though.  If you are against stem cell research on moral grounds, you absolutely have to be against in-vitro fertility treatments.  The embryos for stem cell research are essentially an intended byproduct of the IVF process.  If not implanted in a woman or used in stem cell research, they will be destroyed.  If experiment on human embryos is morally wrong, certainly so is creating more than you need and throwing away the extras.  I’ve read a fair amount of theology in my day and I certainly understand the Catholic Church (and other pro-life groups’) position against stem cell research, but to be morally and intellectually honest and consistent, it really requires that you oppose fertility clinics just as, if not more, strenuously.  So, why don’t we have fertility clinic protesters?
That’s pretty easy– it would be a political disaster.  Any sympathy those in opposition to stem cell research have would quickly evaporate if they were seen to be preventing desperate potential parents from fulfilling their dreams of having a baby.  The day that stem cell opponents start openly advocating against fertility clinics, I’ll have a lot more respect for their position.

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