Yesterday, Senate Republicans presented their best moral voices when asked to speak about the ethics of stem-cell research. (The National Institutes of Health report on the science and applications of stem-cell technology is now available.) As the New York Times reports, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, the only surgeon to sit in the Senate and someone whose views the Bush administration generally admires, has proposed that federal funding of some stem-cell research be allowed—an indication that the White House might be considering a reversal of its own views on the matter. For Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., “[t]he central question to this debate remains: Is the young human a life or mere property to be discarded as a master chooses? Destructive embryo research—research which requires the destruction of living embryos—is deeply immoral, illegal and unnecessary.” Vice President Dick Cheney told viewers of the NewsHour With Jim Lehrer: “These are deeply, deeply significant ethical questions about the future of the race, about medical research, about our ability to deal with horrendous diseases, and at the same time give due regard to the sanctity of human life.” Deeply immoral and deeply, deeply significant—how deep can we go?
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