Bush: "We must proceed with great care."
Last night, President George W. Bush announced (video) that he favors federal funds supporting embryonic stem-cell research—but with specific limits and where the "life and death decision has already been made."


Bush drew a line in the sand saying that federally supported embryonic stem-cell studies will be restricted to stem cells harvested from over 60 existing genetically diverse stem-cell lines. Derived from already destroyed embryos, these cell colonies can regenerate themselves indefinitely.

In order to monitor stem-cell research, Bush is creating a president's council of leading scientists, doctors, ethicists, lawyers, and theologians. Dr. Leon Kass, a biomedical ethicist from the University of Chicago, will lead the council.

Kass has conservative credentials (including writing for First Things and being a Brady Fellow at The American Enterprise Institute) and a well-rounded resume (he's a medical ethicist, a surgeon, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry). Currently the Addie Clark Harding Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the College of the University of Chicago, Kass is a graduate of the University of Chicago School of Medicine.

He has established himself lately in the fight against human cloning with a book and several articles. A recent Kass essay, Moral Meaning of Genetic Technology, sets the context for the embryonic stem-cell debate.

Bush's decision was a careful step into the fray. In his compromise, he found a way to allow scientific exploration to continue while still making an ethical stand. But people on both sides feel he gave too much ground.

Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics is "greatly disappointed in President Bush's misguided decision ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Posted: