Thursday, June 21, 2007

Life Links 6/21/07

A mother in California is suing Planned Parenthood and a hospital over her daughter's death.
The lawsuit alleges that Edrica Goode, 21, went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Riverside for an abortion Jan. 31 and that a nurse inserted cervical dilators, used to gradually expand the cervix in preparation for second-trimester abortions, despite the fact that Goode had a vaginal infection.

Yuval Levin on Bush's veto and executive order
These opponents have tried to argue that time and advances in stem-cell science have undermined the principle of the Bush policy. But in reality, over the past two years a slow but steady wave of new research has begun to undermine not the Bush policy but rather the two original premises of the entire stem-cell debate. It seems that embryonic stem cells may not be unique in their so-called "pluripotency," and it therefore seems that cells with the potential scientists are after could be obtained without causing harm to human embryos.

Some Democrats are finally coming up with a plan which seems to undermine the reasoning behind Bush's stem cell policy by moving up the creation date of human embryonic stem cell lines eligible for federal funding from August 2001 to June 2007. The possibility of this kind of legislation worried me back when Bush first announced his stem cell policy because I have trouble seeing how the administration will be able to defend the arbitrariness of the date set in Bush's August 2001 decision.

Embryonic stem cell proponents have had what I would consider more of an absolutist approach to this issue (they want the federal government to fund human embryonic stem cell research regardless of when the human embryos were destroyed) while this other approach which is being advocated by Senator Tom Harkin simply moves the date, a more incremental approach. Harkin can argue (as Bush did back in August 2001) that those human embryos, whose cells have been used to create embryonic stem cell lines between August 2001 and June 2007, have already been destroyed and that providing tax funding for research on those stem cell lines doesn't "sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos." Maybe I'm missing it but I'm not seeing how the administration would respond to that argument.

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