It’s About the Killing, Stupid?

ChelseaAbortion, Politics, Stem Cell Research2 Comments

On my last post about politicians insisting on funding ESC research despite the recent advancements in ASC research rendering it virtually unnecessary, Paul commented that: It’s all about the killing. Always was.

That reminded me of a recent column in the Chicago Tribune by John Kass, Abortion at the heart of Stem Cell Research:

Though I can’t begin to explain the science, the politics seem clear, despite the Orwellian twisting of the language over the years, despite the political symbolism and political iconography. It’s clear enough.

It’s about abortion. It has always been about abortion, about the choices we make and how we fight to use or deny human embryos for research — all of it like hands that shape our future culture.

There have been other scientific and funding aspects to the stem-cell debate, but at the retail political level, “stem-cell research” has long been a proxy for abortion rights and for the rights of human life unborn.

So “stem-cell” is code, a slogan, the fact understood by political consultants and their candidates, by the abortion rights groups and the politicians who seek their votes and by those that oppose abortion rights and seek those other votes.

Human embryos don’t vote. Many Americans don’t believe there is life in them at such an early stage. I do. But others don’t.

Yet if left alone in a mother’s womb, nurtured there, surely they’d be born to run and breathe and think and speak, and perhaps grow old enough to vote. And they’d want to survive and they’d express that desire through public policy debates, like this one.

Every creature born wants to live, many at almost any cost, and humans are instilled with the will to continue. If this means taking other human lives to ensure survival, well, hasn’t that question been answered by centuries of human history?

We’ve killed one another by tribe and clan, over hunting and grazing land, with clubs and pointed spears, and killed over water. For the past several thousand years, we’ve killed one another over gold. Now we kill for energy. We kill one another for the power to live. We justify it with words. But the act remains the same.

And for all the years the embryonic stem-cell debate has dragged on, we’ve used words to obscure what we’ve been doing. We abandoned old notions of common morality to adopt a new code born of scientific rationalism:

That it is proper to take human embryos and use the human life going on inside them as a product to perpetuate other, more powerful lives.

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2 Comments on “It’s About the Killing, Stupid?”

  1. Granting that he’s right, it raises the question of those politicians (I’m thinking of John McCain) who claim to be pro-life, but support RESCR (Recreational Embryo-destructive Stem Cell Research).

    It rather undermines the perceived sincerity of their claims to oppose abortion, doesn’t it?

  2. By extension, this is the case with cloning, too. Could it be that because there is a universally undeniable good reason to ban therapeutic cloning, the door for reproductive cloning will swing wide open – protected by means of reproductive rights? If you can legally abort a baby and legally dispose of your leftover embryos, then surely you would be allowd to do the same with your clones. I don’t know – here is an interesting article that explores the idea:

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