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Embryonic Stem Cells According to Krauthammer

By The Reverend Published: March 14, 2009

Charles Krauthammer's take on funding embryonic stem cell research.....'I'm not against it, but Obama is still wrong.'....

President Bush had restricted federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to cells derived from embryos that had already been destroyed (as of his speech of Aug. 9, 2001). While I favor moving that moral line to additionally permit the use of spare fertility clinic embryos, President Obama replaced it with no line at all. He pointedly left open the creation of cloned -- and noncloned sperm-and-egg-derived -- human embryos solely for the purpose of dismemberment and use for parts.

First....Krauthammer mischaracterizes, or openly lies, concerning what Obama "left open." From Obama's announcement...

"we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society"

Allow me to bore down a bit further. Having lied about Obama's "moral line" including cloning, Krauthammer goes on to say that "non-cloned sperm-and-egg-derived embryos", created solely for the purpose of research, is crossing yet another "moral line" that Obama "pointedly left open."

So, to Krauthammer, when a couple hires an invitro-clinic's services, and "spare" embryos result from those services, it's moral for those "spares" to be destroyed later for scientific purposes, because, the original moral intent of the create a baby....out weighs the later immoral action of embryo destruction for scientific research purposes. Something positive and good, a newborn child, cancels out the less-than-moral later actions of dismantling the "spare" embryos for scientific study.

The "spare" embryos, according to Krauthammer, are collateral damage. Not intended, really....simply a consequence of doing something (making a baby) that is righteous and good. In this, Krauthammer is consistent with his own collateral damage views of war. Yes, it's too bad that Iraqi women and children were slaughtered in our attack and occupation of that country....but we were doing a good and righteous thing by removing Saddam Hussein. That is how Krauthammer approaches the "spare" embryo "moral line" dilemma he has constructed for himself.

" I suggested the bright line prohibiting the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for the instrumental purpose of research -- a clear violation of the categorical imperative not to make a human life (even if only a potential human life) a means rather than an end."

Apparently, what it all gets down to for the Washington Post writer is.....the motive. "The deliberate creation of human embryos SOLELY for the instrumental purpose of research" is an evil motivation and should never be acceptable. It's okay to destroy the embryos, according to Charles, but what makes that immoral is the thoughtcrime that goes along with the destruction.

The Reverend disagrees. In my world, deliberately creating human embryos for the sole purpose of human scientific advancement is a highly moral action done with altruistic motives. Blood is donated, sperm is donated, bone marrow is donated, eyes are donated, organs are donated......embyros are donated. I don't see that bright "moral line" dividing those categories that Krauthammer sees.

And then Krauthammer really, really gets confused....

"I am not religious. I do not believe that personhood is conferred upon conception. But I also do not believe that a human embryo is the moral equivalent of a hangnail and deserves no more respect than an appendix."

Well, which is it? If Charles doesn't think a minutes-old fertilized human egg should be regarded as a person but, at the same time, he thinks it deserves more moral respect than an appendix.....who gets to decide how much more respect? Scientists? Religionists? Newspaper columnists? Who gets to decide how that moral respect is expressed in real life?

I would argue that offering an unwanted fertilized egg for the exclusive purpose of potential scientific discovery benefitting all of showing the highest respect for human life.

What say ye?



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