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Religion & Law: Mirror of Justice
Obama and Embryonic Stem Cell Research: The Influence of Gene Outka and Doug Kmiec?
Some Restrictions Lifted on Stem Cell Research
WASHINGTON ? The Obama Administration announced Friday that it planned to lift some ? but not all ? of the financing restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research in place during the Bush administration, a move that will please many but not all scientists.
The proposed guideline, which the administration plans to finalize by July 7, would allow research only on stem cells derived from surplus embryos at fertility clinics. Federal financing could still not be used to support the creation of embryos solely for the purposes of research or embryos created by therapeutic cloning.
Such restrictions, some scientists believe, could limit research into the creation of genetically matched organs for transplantation. And in an odd twist, the guideline?s requirements that donors be told what might happen to their embryos during research may make ineligible for future federal financing some of the older stem cell lines that President Bush had approved.
[The rest is here.]
Consider the position of Gene Outka, Dwight Professor of Philosophy and Christian Ethics at Yale University. Outka "take[s] conception and all that it alone makes possible as the point at which one should ascribe a judgment of irreducible value" and opposes the creation of embryos for use in stem cell research. But Outka would permit the use of "excess" embryos, i.e., embryos left over after infertility treatments have been completed. See Gene Outka, "The Ethics of Human Stem Cell Research," in Brent Waters & Ronald Cole-Turner, eds., God and the Embryo: Religious Voices on Stem Cell and Cloning 29 (2003). (The quoted language is on p. 55.)
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