Thursday, May 25, 2006

What I "Consider to Be" Editorializing

I realize I'm splitting hairs here, but I do have a small complaint with an otherwise fair article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today. The article detailed the call from two Catholic bishops for Jim Doyle to rescind his support for embryonic stem cell research. Near the end of the article, it says:
The bishops wrote that embryonic stem cell research is immoral because it destroys what they consider to be life, but added that they were particularly troubled that Doyle has tied his support for the research to economic development.
"What they consider to be life?" Under any scientific standard, an embryo is a living being where none existed before. Now you can make your argument that an embryo can't feel pain, can't live on its own, can't think or whatever, but there's no possible standard by which you can claim that it's not a life.

Based on that premise, proponents of embryonic stem cell research are welcome to make the argument that terminating these embryos serves a greater good. In fact, that's essentially what Doyle is saying by urging research on discarded embryos. He's saying that the potential benefits from the research outweigh the value of the embryos, which is a fair enough argument. But let's not lose sight of the fact that that is the choice. We have to lose a life to potentially save many more.

I, for one, am happy that the bishops are speaking up on this issue. Generally, if you have even the smallest moral concern about where this research might be headed, research advocates will start accusing you of being in the pocket of the pro-life groups (as if it is impossible to just morally be pro-life on your own). And it really isn't an economic development issue, as the Democrats have claimed. Prostitution would probably create a great deal of economic development, but we as a society have made a moral determination that it is impermissible. Now we have a fashionable science that might hire a few more researchers at the UW, and we're willing to pretend there's no moral component?

And to show the class the Democrats are willing to show on this serious moral issue, we have a straightforward statement from the Mark Green campaign, followed by a buffoonish quote from Democratic Chair Joe Wineke.

"Mark Green thinks that what the archbishop is saying to Governor Doyle is right on, and echoes what Mark has been saying all along," Green campaign spokesman Rob Vernon wrote in an e-mail.

But Joe Wineke, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement that Green was trying to hide his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.
Well, if he's trying to hide it, he's doing a pretty poor job. Sounds like someone's just trying to be argumentative just to be argumentative, doesn't it?