On Saturday the Ann Arbor News printed a front page headline article celebrating (practically) Obama's expected lifting tomorrow of the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. Keep in mind that this is a community that once some time ago, by City Council Resolution, declared itself a "Zone of Reproductive Freedom," meaning that if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned Ann Arbor would still allow abortions. Don't get me wrong. I love Ann Arbor in spite of these occasional embarrassing incidents of insanity.
So, given the political climate of my hometown, I felt this headline article needed a response.
I wrote the following:
In the gushing front page article about President Obama's lifting of the limits on embryonic stem cell research the News demonstrates a disturbingly simplistic attitude toward the ethics of life issues. Reporter David Gershman could have done your readers a better service by actually addressing the ethical issue of embryonic stem cell research instead of merely mentioning that one exists.
I do not doubt the good intentions of Sean Morrison, the director of U of M's Center for Stem Cell Biology. But why was he not asked how he justifies the killing of a human life in the interest of science? Does he not consider an embryo to be human life? It would have been interesting to hear a biologist try to make this case. Every reader of the News was once an embryo. Living things do not change identity. What is a human being now was a human being at conception, a person with a genetic identity that will never be repeated in all of human history.
The embryos were destined to be destroyed anyway? How does that justify their destruction? Shall we next experiment on the terminally ill? In reality, we are all terminal.
A senior Obama official said that the aim of the policy is to restore "scientific integrity" to the process. What an ironic choice of words. Any scientific endeavor that does not have as its firm foundation a profound respect for the mysterious sanctity of human life will always be utterly lacking in moral integrity.
(We'll see if they publish it. Obama's presidency just gets scarier and scarier.)