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Monday, October 25, 2004

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 Stem cells are changing the abortion issue

Check out Michael Kinsley on how stem cell politics is changing the nature of the abortion debate:
[S]tem cells make the essential premise of the right-to-life movement a much harder sell. It's a real person like you, or it's many people like you, or it's actually you--versus that microscopic dot. The selflessness required to say, "OK, I'll suffer and die prematurely so that this dot can stay frozen for the next thousand years," is much more dramatic than the mostly theoretical selflessness involved in opposing abortion....

The stem-cell debate inevitably affects the older argument about abortion. Once you decide that a five-day-old embryo maybe isn't as human as you or me, the tempting logical clarity of the absolutist right-to-life position disappears. The slippery slope suddenly slopes the other way. The possibility that human life emerges gradually, like so much in nature, and doesn't turn on instantly like an electric light, doesn't seem so implausible. Does this mean that people are hypocrites? No, it means that people are human.

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