Friday, April 13, 2007

Embryos and Death Row Inmates

Senator Brownback is easily supplanting the old Kansas Board of Education in terms of providing easy blogging material for a slow Friday evening. Consider the comparison he made in the Senate against the just passed embryonic stem cell bill. According to the Brownback Report in Today's Lawrence Journal World and this NPR report, the Senator compared harvesting stem cells fron left over embryos from in vitro fertilization to harvesting organs from condemned criminals since they are going to be destroyed.

"This person is going to die - why not harvest his organs?" he asked. The answer is that "it violates his human dignity," said Brownback, a presidential candidate. "We've got a fundamental debate in this country today, and that's when does human life begin," he said. "They are treating the youngest of human lives as a property and not a person."

So the embryo is the moral equivalent of an adult human? Sorry this sort of anthropomorphism is silly. Were a human embryo really the moral equivalent of a human adult, then we would be spending billions for research to prevent miscarriages. I was going to say, "and in vitro fertilization would be illegal", but I suspect that would be fine in Brownback's mind. I have to ask what about the dignity of a person with Parkinson's? Is the Senator going to deny them a cure simply because he chooses to think that a ball of cells is the moral equivalent of an adult human? Should voters in Kansas continue to support this sort of moral posturing and affront to common sense?

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