Ethicist Proposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Policy

09 Aug, 2005, 01:00 ET from Stem Cells Journal from AlphaMed Press

    DURHAM, N.C., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The debate over human embryonic stem
 cell (hESC) research can be informed by a line of moral reasoning thus far
 overlooked in legislative drafting, according to Louis M. Guenin, lecturer on
 ethics in science at Harvard Medical School, whose commentary will be
 published in the journal Stem Cells and is available now as an early online
 publication in Stem Cells Express.
     Guenin writes that the overlooked reasoning starts from the premise that a
 woman's decision declining transfer of her externally created embryo into her,
 or into anyone else, is a morally permissible exercise of discretion; and
 further, that an embryo barred by such a decision from the womb does not
 correspond to a possible person and cannot gain anything from being classified
 as an actual person.
     "Embryos barred from the womb and donated to medicine," Guenin observes,
 "present us with a means by which we might relieve suffering in actual lives
 at no cost in potential lives."
     Guenin proposes a policy by which "the government shall support biomedical
 research using human embryos that, before or after formation, have been
 donated to medicine under donor instructions forbidding intrauterine
 transfer."  This policy "wears its justification on its sleeve," he writes,
 and optimizes the scope of research, resting both use and creation of embryos
 on the same moral ground.
     In regard to reproductive cloning, Guenin maintains that because the FDA
 has effectively interdicted the practice, the likely incidence in the U.S. is
 nil.  Hence anticloning legislation would be at best redundant, at worst a
 platform for barring valuable research. His commentary makes reference to the
 Dickey Amendment, which bars federal funding of research in which human
 embryos are created or destroyed, and the pending Castle-DeGette bill which
 would partially override it.
     Guenin, co-chair of the ethics committee of the International Society for
 Stem Cell Research, has written extensively on the morality of embryo use in
 medicine.
     Stem Cells, an international peer-reviewed journal, provides a forum for
 original investigative papers and concise reviews. It is written and read by
 clinical and basic scientists whose expertise encompasses the rapidly
 expanding fields of stem and progenitor cell biology. http://www.StemCells.com
 
     Abstract online:
     http://stemcells.alphamedpress.org/cgi/content/abstract/2005-0202v1?ck=nck
 
      CONTACT:
      Laurel Ferejohn, Communications
      LaurelFerejohn@AlphaMedPress.com
      Tel.: 919-680-0011 ext. 234
      Fax: 919-680-4411
 
 

SOURCE Stem Cells Journal from AlphaMed Press
    DURHAM, N.C., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The debate over human embryonic stem
 cell (hESC) research can be informed by a line of moral reasoning thus far
 overlooked in legislative drafting, according to Louis M. Guenin, lecturer on
 ethics in science at Harvard Medical School, whose commentary will be
 published in the journal Stem Cells and is available now as an early online
 publication in Stem Cells Express.
     Guenin writes that the overlooked reasoning starts from the premise that a
 woman's decision declining transfer of her externally created embryo into her,
 or into anyone else, is a morally permissible exercise of discretion; and
 further, that an embryo barred by such a decision from the womb does not
 correspond to a possible person and cannot gain anything from being classified
 as an actual person.
     "Embryos barred from the womb and donated to medicine," Guenin observes,
 "present us with a means by which we might relieve suffering in actual lives
 at no cost in potential lives."
     Guenin proposes a policy by which "the government shall support biomedical
 research using human embryos that, before or after formation, have been
 donated to medicine under donor instructions forbidding intrauterine
 transfer."  This policy "wears its justification on its sleeve," he writes,
 and optimizes the scope of research, resting both use and creation of embryos
 on the same moral ground.
     In regard to reproductive cloning, Guenin maintains that because the FDA
 has effectively interdicted the practice, the likely incidence in the U.S. is
 nil.  Hence anticloning legislation would be at best redundant, at worst a
 platform for barring valuable research. His commentary makes reference to the
 Dickey Amendment, which bars federal funding of research in which human
 embryos are created or destroyed, and the pending Castle-DeGette bill which
 would partially override it.
     Guenin, co-chair of the ethics committee of the International Society for
 Stem Cell Research, has written extensively on the morality of embryo use in
 medicine.
     Stem Cells, an international peer-reviewed journal, provides a forum for
 original investigative papers and concise reviews. It is written and read by
 clinical and basic scientists whose expertise encompasses the rapidly
 expanding fields of stem and progenitor cell biology. http://www.StemCells.com
 
     Abstract online:
     http://stemcells.alphamedpress.org/cgi/content/abstract/2005-0202v1?ck=nck
 
      CONTACT:
      Laurel Ferejohn, Communications
      LaurelFerejohn@AlphaMedPress.com
      Tel.: 919-680-0011 ext. 234
      Fax: 919-680-4411
 
 SOURCE  Stem Cells Journal from AlphaMed Press