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poor embryos

those poor ivf surplus embroys. already headed for the trash. now, their chance to contribute to science and humanity has been delayed indefinitely once again. (that picture in the article, of bush surrounded by babies born of surplus embroys makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth.  don’t politicians feel any shame when they blatantly use human beings to abet their pandering?)

chris and i had a nice discussion last night about what happened yesterday. now that i’m a “biologist,” i thought it would be nice to play devil’s advocate, arguing that what bush did was the moral thing to do. and frighteningly, the more i thought about it, the more i could understand why our president would do something so silly.

recall, all the bill was asking to do was make excess ivf embryos (already slated for destruction) available for federally funded research. seems like an obviously good idea, especially given that so many people think stem cells derived from these embryos hold the key to all kinds of wacked out research.

but, as a friend of mine from high school pointed out to me a long time ago, just because the thing is going to die doesn’t mean it’s right to exploit it. for instance, let’s say a convicted criminal was going to be executed: would it be right to submit him/her to medical experimentation before the execution, just because he/she “was going to die anyway”? most people would say no.

christina countered: “well, that’s because the convict is capable of saying no to the research.”

that lead me to the favorite prop of the medical ethics class i took in undergrad: the terminally ill patient so mentally handicapped that they couldn’t possibly give medical consent to things. would it be ok to use them as human guinea pigs? again, probably not.

i’m having trouble thinking of an example where you can ethically prematurely end the life of a human being for the benefit of research. (an easy way out, though, would be to just admit that the embryo isn’t a human. this doesn’t strike me as too hard, since a human embryo at the time stem cells are harvested probably looks identical to at least any other vertebrate embryo.)

of course, right now, it’s legal to prematurely end the lives of human embryos … for ivf. i still don’t understand why the people who voted against stem cell research aren’t screaming bloody murder at clinics offering ivf. proponents of stem cell research should really sponser a bill to have ivf outlawed, thrusting senators’ crazy embryo double standards into the public eye.

i won’t hold my breath though. instead, i’ll just hope that it’s garbage like this though that gets congress shaken up this november. until then, you know what they say: “snakes on a plane, man.”

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6 Responses to “poor embryos”

  1. on 22 Jul 2006 at 7:51 am Anonymous

    You know, yesterday I actually tried to argue this on the somethingawful fourms. It was very messy. It was everyone vs me, and they were basically telling me embryo’s are not humans becuase they dont have consciousness. I argued that consciousness is so abstract, you couldn’t use consciousness as a point to define when human life begins. THey argued that until the fetus has a working nervious system it wasn’t human. I thought this was crazy becuase how many neuorns are required for you to be able to say its human.
    Eventually it just got down to the IVF, and i had to concede, there becuase i cannnot argue agaisnt stem cell research without arguing agaisnt IVF, and by that time it was like 5 pm and the work day was over.

    Really people don’t think embryo’s are living things and they can do whatever they want with them, grow a while bunch halfway, pick the one that you like and discard the rest. That seems monsterous to me. And of course if you’re agaisnt stem cells you have to be agaisnt abortion as well. I’ll just say it’s very hard to argue when the people you’re arguing with are so stuck in their beliefs that they will resort to personal attacks.


  2. on 22 Jul 2006 at 9:03 am Lawrence David

    consciousness doesn’t work as a criterium, i think.

    for instance, say you hit your head and became permanently unconscious. most people would say it’s immoral, i think, to use you as a lab rat.

    funny how you stop posting on forums when work is over, not when it starts :)

  3. on 22 Jul 2006 at 11:29 am Anonymous

    yeah i know, funny isn’t it :) i had soo little work that day..

    Well it was like arguing with a wall, thats how difficult it was. they argue that legally you can be brain dead, taken off life support… and then your body used for science? I aruge, just becuase it’s legal dosn’t mean it’s ethical. then the name calling started, and the attack on my qualifications… i hate arguing on the internet.


  4. on 22 Jul 2006 at 1:46 pm Lawrence David

    where are these SA forums? maybe i can earn some street cred there and work my way into the you know what :)

  5. on 22 Jul 2006 at 4:40 pm Anonymous

    hehe, It’s really not worth it, if you goto http://www.somethingawful.com its a link on the left, but if you want to post you have to register and that costs 10 bucks…

  6. on 26 Jul 2006 at 12:19 am Somewhere Between Splat & Bounce

    What really got my panties twisted about the whole debate was that seemed to be more debate about whether or not to research on pre-born humans, and all the reasons it is or is not ethical. Meanwhile, half a world away, US soldiers are blasting through born Iraqi’s and Isreal is using US provided weapons to destroy Palestinians and Lebanese. But the politicians are promoting a culture of life..

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