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The New York Times officially endorsed cloning this morning. You remember how for the past 8 years, whenever the topic of embryonic stem-cell research came up, the proponents told us that they just need the so-called “spare” embryos, “left-overs” from IVF clinics, that were “going to die anyway”? Remember how they’d scoff at anyone who said this will undoubtedly lead to cloning? (Anyone with eyes to see knew that it would, after all, be medicinally required for the hoped-for therapies to work.) Remember, too, how just last week with great fanfare Obama pronounced that cloning “is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society” . . . and how he made sure to qualify it as only applying to “reproductive” cloning?

Well, it’s no great surprise that the Times wants the rules that govern stem-cell research to be defined “as broadly as possible to allow the greatest potential for advances.”

They go on to explain to readers why they made smoke-cloud arguments about spare embryos for all these past years: “This single-minded focus on the surplus embryos — left over after patients’ fertility treatments were completed — was mostly because a strong moral argument could be made that these microscopic, days-old embryos were doomed to be discarded anyway. Why not gain potential medical benefits from studying their stem cells?” What they presented as the end-game was really just the first baby step.

And now they tell us what they really want: “Scientists believe that one way to obtain the matched cells needed to study diseases is to use a cell from an adult afflicted with that disease to create a genetically matched embryo and extract its stem cells. This approach — known as somatic cell nuclear transfer — is difficult, and no one has yet done it.” Oh, right, “somatic cell nuclear transfer”—-cloning and then killing.

Fr. Neuhaus’s voice still rings clear: “Thousands of medical ethicists and bioethics, as they are called, professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on the way to becoming the justifiable until it is finally established as the unexceptionable.”

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