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August 18, 2011

"The Failure of Liberal Bioethics"

Ross Douthat reflects, here, on the recent (very troubling, I thought) NYT Magazine piece on "selective reduction."  He observes:

From embryo experimentation to selective reduction to the eugenic uses of abortion, liberals always promise to draw lines and then never actually manage to draw them. . . . [T]hey find reasons to embrace each new technological leap while promising to resist the next one — and then time passes, science marches on, and they find reasons why the next moral compromise, too, must be accepted for the greater good, or at least tolerated in the name of privacy and choice. You can always count on them to worry, often perceptively, about hypothetical evils, potential slips down the bioethical slope. But they’re either ineffectual or accommodating once an evil actually arrives. Tomorrow, they always say — tomorrow, we’ll draw the line. But tomorrow never comes.

Posted by Rick Garnett on August 18, 2011 at 01:40 PM in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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Thanks for posting that. "Where to draw the line" captures, in part, my intellectual reasoning for opposing abortion from conception. Grew up in the Church, but never gave serious thought one way or the other to the abortion debate or teaching. When I matured and started thinking about it, I simplistically thought: (a) we want to do the right thing and protect all we should be protecting; and (b) even if some are not positive when moral worth begins, it's better to draw the intellectual line at the earliest possible point. Better to be safe than sorry; better to err on the side of protection, given our limited human understanding. I also pitch the milk on the "sell by" date.

Posted by: A reader | Aug 18, 2011 2:58:35 PM

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