The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 24, 2001 Issue

Finding good in the bad

Bush decision was wrong with exception

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

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.

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