To the Editor:
David Grimm’s column on stem cell research shows a very superficial understanding of the moral and political issues at stake. Millions of people, both religious and not, hold that life begins at the moment of conception, with the formation of a human genome genetically distinct from either the sperm or the egg. Rather than assigning an “arbitrary distinction,” it follows quite logically that any genetically distinct human life should be assigned the rights and protection due a human person — regardless of whether it was conceived in utero or in a lab dish during in vitro fertilization (IVF). Again, logic dictates that destroying this human person out of convenience or a desire to experiment upon it is indeed tantamount to murder.
The fact that the destruction of human life is sanctioned by Supreme Court order and already occurs daily during in vitro fertilizations and in utero abortions does not make it morally appropriate for the elected government to provide further legitimacy by sanctioning scientific research. Grimm’s insinuation that Bush is inconsistent by opposing stem cell research but allowing in vitro fertilization implies that the President has the constitutional leeway to ban early-stage abortion — an authority that the decision in Roe v. Wade has made clear that neither he nor the American voters possess.
The Bush administration does, in principle, oppose the destruction of any life after conception, including during IVF. Grimm should recall that President Bush made this position very clear within hours of taking office on Jan. 22, 2001 noting, “that every life is valuable; that our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and weak, the imperfect and even the unwanted; and that our nation should set a great goal that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law.”
Opposing stem cell research is consistent with an ethic that holds that no human life is better or more deserving than another. A policy that would give government sanction and funding to dismember millions of helpless lives for the benefit of millions of others is fundamentally illiberal, lacking compassion for the weakest among us by sacrificing them in the name of science.
Daniel Kruger ’04
October 3, 2002