Fr. Reese S.J. tries to sound reasonable about the destruction of human beings for research and offers some proposed restrictions.
1. Embryos for research cannot be bought and sold. Embryos should not be created for the sole purpose of research. They should only come from excess embryos produced at fertility clinics that are scheduled to be destroyed anyway.
2. Before using human embryonic stem cells, researchers should show that the research they are doing cannot be done with non-embryonic stem cells.
3. Research using embryonic stem cells should aim at advancing toward the goal of using only non-embryonic stem cells in regenerative medicine. In other words, once the process of developing adult stem cells for treatments has been shown to be safe and reliable, any research in embryonic stem cells should be able to move seamlessly into the use of adult stem cells leaving the ethical problems behind.
These rules will not satisfy those who find any use of embryos ethically objectionable, but it will indicate that the Obama administration is trying to find some middle ground that gives some respect to the many Americans who find such research repugnant. In short, if science shows a way out of this ethical dilemma, we should follow it.
The way he writes reminds me exactly of his time as America Magazine editor. Where both sides of “an issue” were presented where one side is the teaching of the Church. He writes like he has no dog in the fight, as a distant observer. That the discussion the murder of innocent human beings for the purpose of research is like discussion which type of soda you prefer. It is also rather silly to expect science to show us a way out of the “ethical dilemma.” We can’t just let innocents be murdered while scientists figure this out. Moral guidance needs to be given to those who get caught up in research and not the morality of what they are doing. For Fr. Reese I guess you can do evil for some good as long as you suggest some restrictions along the way.
It is rather silly for Fr. Reese to even suggest restrictions to President Obama who voted for infanticide rather than having even the remotest threat against Roe v. Wade.
Ed Peters weighs in about the Fallacy of the Mean and goes on to say:
Some Founding Fathers thought slavery should be protected throughout the country, others thought it should be made illegal everywhere. So they compromised, and made half the States slave, half free. We all know how that one turned out, don’t we?
I believe that no embryonic human being should be experimented upon, let alone killed. The Obama administration believes that they all can be treated so. Reese suggests we settle our differences by only experimenting on and killing “the extra ones”. How one squares Reese’s compromise with the absolute prohibition against deliberately taking an innocent human life (Evangelium vitae, 57) I have no idea.
And yes, I know they’re (almost certainly) “going to die anyway”, and not like you or I are “going to die anyway.” But that does not mean that these tiny people should die by my hand, or with my dollars.
As we look for a way out of Complication No. 658 that follows in the wake of separating sex from procreation, we’re going to need better options than ‘just-kill-some-of-them’.