Bush right on cloning; Human life not a commodity
April 14, 2002
National political columnists have written in the past few weeks that President George W. Bush tends to cast public policy debates in moral absolutes, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil. They mean it as a criticism and we publish their opinions because we believe the editorial pages of this newspaper should be open to a variety of viewpoints.
But none of us should become so jaded that we forget there is a place for principle at the political table, that there is a place in public debate for expression of principled ideas. On the issue of human cloning, we applaud President Bush's comments on the absolute value of human life and encourage the Congress to deny any federal funding to the cause of research into human cloning.
Despite what some have called the promising frontier of human cloning, the President had it right when he said the country has a stark choice:
We can either pursue medical research with a clear sense of moral purpose,'' he said, or we can travel without an ethical compass into a world we could live to regret.''
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said in an editorial that "Bush's moral certainty is enticing and undoubtedly fed by sincere religious belief. But it would close the door on medical research that offers hope for improved medical treatment of debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, spinal injuries and cancers. Embryonic stem cells obtained by cloning could also help avoid the immune system rejection problems encountered in organ transplants."
The newspaper argued that "all cloning is not alike. Some, called reproductive cloning, is designed to produce human babies. Most Americans and all major scientific bodies support a ban on reproductive cloning as dangerous and unethical.
We do agree with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "at the heart of the dispute is a question about what it means to be a human." Human life is not a commodity to be bought and sold like corn or soybean futures. It is a sacred, God-given gift and scientific tampering, no matter how noble the intentions, simply weakens its true value.