Finding good in the bad
Bush decision was wrong with exception
By Tony Staley
Pres. George W. Bush's decision to allow federal funding of
embryonic stem-cell research on already established stem-cell
lines is disappointing both because it is morally wrong and
because it violates a campaign promise.
But as disappointing and wrong as Bush's decision is, the naming
of University of Chicago professor Leon Kass to head a bioethics
council to review this and other developments in bio-medical and
behavioral science and technology is encouraging.
Kass, who opposes embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning,
will lead a council that replaces Pres. Clinton's National
Bioethics Advisory Commission. The council will study the human
and moral ramifications of embryo and stem-cell research,
assisted reproduction, cloning, genetic screening, gene therapy,
euthanasia, psychoactive drugs, and brain implants.
Kass and his wife of 40 years, Amy, have team-taught a seminar at
the University of Chicago on the ethics of courtship. In 1999,
they addressed a major Catholic gathering in Washington sponsored
by the Pontifical Council for the Family and the U.S. bishops'
Committee for Pro-Life Activities.
Bush now needs to make sure that a majority of his remaining
appointments to his new bioethics council will have views in line
with those of Kass.