Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fetal Farming, Semantic Gymnastics, Political Blindness: Another Day in Dystopia

Some studies published by Advanced Cell Technology and others have been touted as showing benefits from stem cells harvested from cloned animal embryos--but in each case, the study had to achieve its therapeutic goal by implanting the embryo in an animal's uterus and growing it to the fetal stage, then killing the fetus for more developed fetal stem cells. Such "fetus farming" is now apparently seen by some researchers as the new paradigm for human "therapeutic cloning," and some state laws on cloning (e.g., New Jersey's) are crafted to allow just such grotesque practices in humans. It may be that "therapeutic cloning" cannot be made to work without conducting the "reproductive cloning" that almost everyone condemns--placing embryos in women's wombs, in this case in order to abort them later for their more developed tissues. This would, of course, compound cloning's exploitation of women as egg factories, by exploiting them as incubators for cloned fetal humans as well.
-Richard Doerflinger, The Many Casualties of Cloning
The New Atlantis, Spring 2006

Seeming to be powered by unfulfillable promises and boundless desires to give the finger to pro-lifers, the political push for embryonic research proceeds apace without any perceptible signs of self-correction:

While many researchers are beginning to appreciate that human cloning for medical treatments may be a failure, the world of politics is another matter. The political agenda for cloning has long been divorced from the facts, and this problem is, if anything, getting worse. It was after the South Korea scandal--after the last two years of "progress" in human cloning research was found to be illusory--that Senator Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) declared: "This is probably the most promising medical-healthcare scientific research, as far as I'm concerned, in the history of the world."

Diana Degette, please read this.

Doerflinger also cites an infamous editorial from a 1970 issue of California Medicine which endorsed ethical equivocation to a point far beyond malignity. Though several decades old, its authors recognized with unflinching realism the ethical and logical incoherence of our times:
Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everybody knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but the taking of a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices. It is suggested that this schizophrenic sort of subterfuge is necessary because while a new ethic is being accepted the old one has not yet been rejected. [my emphasis]

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