Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A religious-left organization called "Faith in Public Life" has released a series of quick-bites from "evangelical and Catholic leaders" who are said to "welcome" the Administration's new stem-cell-research guidelines. One of the "Catholic leaders" quoted is Doug Kmiec, who continues to surprise -- to surprise me, anyway -- with his enthusiastic willingness to endorse policies and propositions from which, not too long ago, he would have recoiled. According to Kmiec:
"The Obama administration has announced informed consent rules that are far more strict - and retroactive - than what had been proposed by President Bush. In brief, if researchers do not follow the new informed consent rules, no funding. This may trigger some consternation among medical researchers, but it is a very positive sign that President Obama has been listening - as he promised - to the heightened claims of conscience posed by Catholics in the modern medical environment. The President's strong motivation to assist in the treatment of devastating illnesses often associated with life's end is only ennobled by his willingness to be more ethically sensitive to the earliest moments of life."
Two thoughts: First, while it is certainly preferable that there be strong informed-consent rules than that there not be, the fact that parents of the to-be-destroyed-for-research embryos consent is irrelevant (isn't it?) to what for pro-lifers (like, I would have thought, Kmiec) the real question, i.e., whether it is moral to destroy-for-research such (unconsenting, I assume!) embryos.
Second, the "more strict than Bush" claim is extremely misleading. A regime that will involve massive new funding for the actual destruction-in-research of human embryos is hardly more "strict" (in a way that pro-lifers will care about, anyway) than one in which federal funding is permitted only using a limited set of previously-created stem-cell "lines."