More proof in that embryonic stem cell research is not—and never has been—about getting some use out of leftover IVF embryos that are due to be destroyed anyway. A serious proposal has been forwarded to make embryos for the purpose of storing them as a source of future medical need. From the story:
Couples could be allowed to store embryos in order to use them to create new body parts or cure diseases.Given that this is Brave New Britain, it is easy to predict the answer.
Government legal and ethical experts are to discuss whether families can ‘bank’ embryos not just for procreation but also for use by doctors to create personalised treatments for parents and their children.
Now, [under UK law] embryos—the first stage of life after an egg has been successfully fertilised—can be stored for up to five years but only for procreation. But a huge ethical debate is set to erupt as the Government’s fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), moves closer to endorsing new developments in medical science.It will debate whether embryos could be stored to harvest important stem cells that have the ability to turn into any tissue type in the body.
This is figurative cannibalism, treating nascent human life as if it were a prize cattle herd or copper mine. But if you don’t believe in human exceptionalism and its concomitant principle of the the sanctity/equality of human life, why not use human beings as we do other natural resources?
And it won’t stop with embryos. Once the principle is accepted that living human beings can be objectified as a product, there is no way that enterprise will be limited to the earliest humans. Indeed, as I have often described, fetal farming is on the table and the already born weak and vulnerable are being looked upon by some as sources of organs and subjects for medical experimentation.
Ideas have consequences. Once we state that human life does not have intrinsic moral value simply and merely because it is human, there isn’t much that we can’t justify.