Pro-Abortion activist – we can “respect” embryos and still kill them

From one supporter of research on preborn human beings:

“We will argue that a genuine moral respect for embryos can be joined – without incongruity, but not without careful attention to how that respect is displayed – with their use and destruction in legitimate research… [There is] moral compatibility between respecting something and destroying it…

Sometimes people destroy something because they respect it, as when a sacred artifact is destroyed to prevent its being treated in a profane way. In contrast, embryos are destroyed in the course of research in spite of the respect they deserve. Destroying an object in spite of the respect it is owed raises the tension we seek to resolve….

There is no inherent conceptual contradiction or severe moral dilemma involved in the general idea of showing respect for what one destroys… Even the gains reaped through its destruction do not preclude honest and open acknowledgment of the regret and loss one should feel about it.…

Handling extracorporeal embryos with respect in the lab should never be an empty or insincere gesture but might include… disposing of the remains of used embryos in a way respectful of their status (for example, the remains may be treated as if they were corpses and be buried or cremated).

Thus while the embryo’s moral status need not prevent us from killing it… it requires that the destruction be for justifiable reasons, and that the destruction and eventual disposal in some way reflect the seriousness of the event…

Given the minimal but real moral respect owed to an embryo, there can be, and ought to be, some display of respect whenever they are used, but that the destruction of an embryo need not display disrespect for it.”

Michael J Meyer and Lawrence J Nelson “Respecting What We Destroy: Reflections on Human Embryo Research” Hastings Center Report January/February 2001

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Author: Sarah

Sarah is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

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