March 18, 2005

Hynes stem cell proposal to be put to referendum

Two days of legislative debate ended Thursday with a victory for proponents of stem cell research.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed legislation to place a referendum on the November 2006 ballot asking voters to support stem cell research in Illinois.
Approval would permit the state to sell $1 billion worth of bonds to create the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute, which would award stem cell research grants to Illinois universities and institutions over a 10-year period.
"We need to provide researchers the tools and capabilities to conduct their research within an ethical and moral framework in order to provide cures for many diseases and conditions," said state Comptroller Dan Hynes, who drafted the legislation, Senate Bill 2100

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At 3/19/2005 11:10 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

The stem cell issue really is a challenging one, intellectually. It is so closely aligned to the abortion debate, with one critical difference. Anti-abortion advocates argue that life begins at conception. If that is so, then stem cell research really is "murder." The difference, however, is that it is a "murder" of a "life" that might never come to its natural fruition, in order to rescue a life that already has come to fruition.

To opponents of stem cell research, however, I imagine that this distinction is meaningless. And perhaps it should be to them, in order to preserve some semblance of consistency. The law does not allow us to take another's life in order to save our own. In fact, under our law, to do so constitutes murder. This is not a well-known principle, but it is well-established in law. If Dope holds a gun to my head and tells me to kill another, or be killed myself, so I kill another, I have committed a murder. If we take the "life" that is embryonic stem cells, in order to save ourselves, it is nevertheless a "murder," at least insofar as life is thought to begin at the moment of conception.

What an awesome issue to ponder.

Now this next comment has nothing to do with the stem cell topic, but I can't help it. I'm now thinking about it. Those who believe that life begins at the moment of conception so often claim that abortion must be illegal, except in instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Is a life somehow not a life if it came into existence through the performance of an evil act? And if we say that it is okay to take that "life" to preserve the life of the mother, are we not violating the very principle of law I discussed above: the principle which holds that we cannot take another's life to preserve our own?

At 3/20/2005 8:10 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You have more cojones than I to even weigh in on the issue. It truly is a puzzle inside of a conundrum wrapped in an inigma or something like that.
Once you drill down into it, it quickly becomes like some Zen riddle.

And thanks once more dissenter for at least enlightening me on the fact that you cannot take another life to save your own. That was certainly a shock, though I suppose the law had to pick one side or the other to come down on, and the alternative just wouldn't work, or else every other murder defendant would be saying that they had to kill to save themselves.
And as if the whole abortion issue wasn't convoluted enough, you add that angle to it.

I've always based my pro-choice position on the fact that in early term pregnancy, the fetus simply wasn't considered a life. Or perhaps more specifically, if it was a life, that the mother had complete dominion over it and could chose to terminate the pregnancy if she so chose.

I don't know if it's a matter of science or morality or a combination of the two, but I simply feel that until such point where a fetus would be "viable" as they say, outside the womb, it should be considered a part of the mother, and therefore she can do what she wishes.

That's good enough for me, and as you have shown, to get even further into it is a real thicket that I simply avoid for my own sanity.

That said, I can honestly say that I have not heard any arguments from the other side of the debate that came remotely close to changing my beliefs.

And though it may sound a bit too simplistic and clever, I truly believe in the maxim, if you object to abortion, don't have one.

That reflects the other reason I'm pro-choice, namely, that I believe that in an deeply personal and moral issue such as this, society really should not impose any one view on women.

While there are some who feel they know to the core of their being that abortion is murder, and some to the point of being deranged, I don't feel that gives them the right to criminalize those that feel differently.

And as callous as it may sound, I truly don't see any horrible damage or harm to society being done by allowing the practice of abortion.

In keeping with my own beliefs, I respect those that may feel differently, but I do object if they feel that they must force their views on everyone.


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