Monday, December 11, 2006

No Intention of Ever Saying No...

Some astute observations from bioethicisit Wes' Smith on the everchanging moral values of liberals...

The discussion about selecting embryos to have a disability reminded me of a column I have in my files written by the syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman in January 1980. It is a good reminder of how if we are willing to look, we can see the slippery slope literally slip-sliding away.

In "Making Babies," which ran in the Austin American Statesman on 1/17/80 (no link available), Goodman urged that IVF be permitted to proceed unhindered. "To some," she wrote, "it is just a small medical step, another helping tool which we will soon accept the way we now accept the once-diabolical diaphragm. To others, it is a step down the long road to a Brave New World, in which Aldous Huxley foresaw a human hatchery and fertilizing center in the middle of London."Both were right, in my view. And here is the slippery slope part: "A fear of many protesting the opening of this clinic is that doctors will fertilize myriad eggs and discard the 'extras' and the abnormal, as if they were no more meaningful than a dish of caviar. But this fear seems largely unwarranted."

After I ran across this column, Goodman wrote a column in favor of ESCR. I e-mailed her pointing out that she was supporting a policy that treats embryos as if they were no more meaningful than a dish of caviar, and asked her when she would finally say no. She wrote back, "My lines have changed."

Indeed. And thus the blithe assurances that we will know where and when to stop are just platitudes. The Establishment has no intention of ever, finally saying no.

Read the rest at Secondhand Smoke