I normally don’t blog politics, but Michael Kinsley’s
column on stem cell policy is just too good to pass up.
In this column, Kinsley argues that Bush’s famous August 2001 compromise allowing stem cell research on existing cell lines, but banning research on new ones, was both scientifically and morally flawed — and that those flaws are becoming even more obvious over time.
Kinsley cites a report published last week in Nature which throws cold water on the idea that “adult” stem-cells might be an acceptable substitute for two-week-old stem cells. Turns out they aren’t. (The idea that adult stem cells might work came out just a few months before Bush’s speech, and made a lot of people think that there would be a middle road between banning the research altogether and seeing what sort of life-benefiting treatments might be made with the new science.)
The moral flaw, Kinsley says, is that stem cell research, if allowed, would use a tiny fraction of the human embryos that are routinely created and then unceremoniously destroyed in fertility labs. But instead of decrying such work as inhuman, Bush actually has applauded it.
It’s a good column, even with the inflammatory title.