“We should resolve our national debate over embryo-destructive research on the basis of the best scientific evidence as to when the life of a new human being begins, and the most careful philosophic reasoning at what is owed to a human being at any stage of development.”
Robert P. George Embryo Ethics Daedalus Winter 2008
I love this line. In my ever-growing desire to parse through the complex and make it accessible, lets look at this sentence and see if it is reasonable.
The sentence presupposes that there is a resolution to the divergent opinions. There is a right position to be had here. This is not a matter of preference. Destroying embryos for the purposes of research and therapy either OUGHT to be allowed or it OUGHT to be prohibited.
William Saletan recently took the position that we OUGHT to respect the embryo’s life and only destroy it…well I guess whenever we deem whatever we want to be worth destroying them over. This is similar to the “health exception to late term abortions as practiced in the United States. We have to have a health exception, because to not have one would violate the bodily autonomy of women. OK you got it, now what are the extraordinary health conditions that allow women to be permitted to terminate the lives of the 2nd trimester or perhaps 3rd trimester human beings? Here is what Doe v. Bolton, the companion case that accompanies Roe v. Wade says:
“Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, "an abortion is necessary" is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”
So emotional health, psychological health, familial health, or age are relevant to the broad term health. So you mosey into Dr. Aborter’s office and tell him that this pregnancy is upsetting you something awful and you will be scheduled for an abortion at 30 weeks on the “health” exception just because that Dr. Aborter is willing to do it. I heard of another doctor that is willing to kill you if you are depressed and call it a mercy killing as well. What we are willing to do OUGHT NOT to be the hard line determinate of what we can do. Some disturbed people are willing to do almost anything and justify it as mercy or health related.
Now if experience shows us that we can not trust the restraint of doctors based on the honor system and their varying levels of conscience, why would it be reasonable to expect different results in regards to embryo research? So Mr. Saletan’s solution is not a solution. It is the large-scale destruction of human life that we truly "respect."