Monday, October 30, 2006

Michael J. Fox on Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research is an important issue and, thankfully "dead to God" Britain is on entirely the right side of it. Even if you view a foetus as a person this is more akin to dissection (using a corpse to benefit science) or organ donation (using a corpse to save lives). The best argument I've heard for why pro-lifers might still want to attack stem cell research (beyond a blind hatred of anything connected with abortion) is that it creates a demand for abortions. However, with such a massively constrained market is seems unlikely that demand will much influence supply so they are really just rationalising using this issue as a pawn in the great game of the abortion debate. By contrast if, like me and plenty of others, you support the status quo on abortion the Republican stem cell position looks infuriatingly narrow minded.

Because of this it is a brilliant issue for Democrats, as Frum argues here (his argument that there is no likelihood of cure is less impressive than his political analysis... the Democratic party didn't invent stem cell research), they finally have a moral issue with an emotive and articulate spokesperson in which they clearly trump the Republicans. They were winning the elections anyway but purely on the basis of Republican incompetence. I think it works even better because the Republicans who may oppose abortion and dislike stem cell research on those grounds have the logic I've given above in the back of their minds so most, I think, will struggle to get really worked up about the issue.

Also, Rush Limbaugh's attempt to respond to Fox has to be one of the least effective political moves ever. It gave a platform for Fox to get on the news and do this:

Rush Limbaugh comes across hackish and unpleasant. Fox comes across reasonable and principled.


Anonymous said...

Do you think parents who kill thier babies should be allowed to donate their bodies to scinece,to take up your analgoy

and a lot of the proposals for embyronic stem cell resarch (though not all) invovle creating such embyos for example through clonging-indeed the ballot measure in missouri fox backs would give a constituia right to clone-but also mandage the killing of clones, the first time in US history the killing of innocent human beings would be legally compulsory

there's alreayd a large market ( heavily suppressed) for donation of egs for IVF-why on earth wouldn't this create a market for destroyed embryos?

Moreover Fox's dishonest and emotially manipulative add is patly about funding -has sinclar musings now decided sociaslim works better for technological advance than free markets?

Matthew Sinclair said...

Sure. I doubt many have an interest in such a thing but, when you think about it, of course... what about them killing their babies changes the equation on allowing them to donate them to science?

The clones are really, really early stage although I do see why that troubles the pro-lifers.

There's a market for donation of eggs because someone donates them in order to get the money and there is relatively little cost in doing so. No one is getting paid to abort.

Fox's ad isn't dishonest and this debate isn't about funding. Given science funding exists I, and my blog, would rather have it spent rationally. I'm not going to take one irrational ban after another as a route to economic liberalism.