As the college president in Horse Feathers:
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it!
The ethical case, such as it was, for opposing embryonic stem cell research just got substantially weaker. It’s possible to extract a single cell from a zygote without killing the zygote; IVF clinics already do that to test for genetic abnormalities, and the resulting children don’t seem to be any worse off than those who develop from untouched zygotes. Now it turns out that a stem cell line can be developed from such an extracted cell.
The Bush Administration, which opposed embryonic stem cell research because it destroys embryos (as opposed to routine IVF, which simply produces embryos and then disposes of them) turns out to be opposed to embryonic stem cell research that doesn’t destroy any embryos; now its objection is to the use of human embryos in research. Naturally, its allied yahoos also remain opposed, with Sam Brownback proudly parading his ignorance.
Update Okay, I take back “ignorant.” It’s possible that a single blastomere could develop into a fetus, though of course not without lots of fancy maniupulation that has never been done with a human blastomere; even the research to determine whether it might be possible would be grossly unethical. I still claim it’s pretty damned silly to call the single blastomere a “twin” of the seven-blastomere group we know can and does develop into a fetus, and then claim that the “twin” was destroyed.
Even putting aside the fact that the zygotes in question weren’t going to be implanted anyway, no harm of any sort has been done to the zygote. But I keep forgetting that in discussions of these issues the rule “no harm, no foul” simply doesn’t apply.