What a week for bioethics. Not only has Bush's indecision on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research led to a pundit frenzy, but word that scientists had created embryonic stem cells purely for research purposes from donated human sperm and eggs set off another flurry of commentary. And then there was news that yet another biotechnology company is also creating embryos explicitly for research—only instead of using volunteers, they're using cloning technology. And it wasn't all stem-cell issues, either. The Bush administration drafted a policy allowing states to include unborn children in medical coverage. And a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision barring a man from procreating until he can prove that he can support his children sets a precedent that damages several prochoice arguments. Add to that recent polls suggesting that support for legal abortion is at its lowest point in six years, reports that clinics can now choose the sex of a child with a 92 percent accuracy (if you want a girl; for boys, the accuracy rate is 72 percent), news that Australian researchers fertilized mice eggs without sperm, and continued discoveries regarding the human genome. Is anyone else's head spinning?
The big debate, of course, is still embryonic stem-cell research. (Voted in our poll yet?) And despite all the breakthroughs in biotechnology, the fundamental question is still the same: when does human life begin? As noted in just about every major news publication, several key prolife politicians are saying it's possible to be antiabortion and support embryonic stem cell research. Lots of folks have commented on this argument, but rather than summarize, Weblog would rather simply point to the best analysis: ...1