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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 5, 2005 / 29 Tamuz, 5765

Americans can't let human life be created just to use it and then kill it

By David Gelernter


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I would love to join Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and many other conservatives who have decided to support federal funding for wide-ranging research in a hugely promising new area — embryonic stem cells. I'd love to, but I can't.


Stem cells can be made to generate nearly any type of human tissue, including types that might cure disease and save lives. They are taken from human embryos that are destroyed in the process. But the results might help alleviate horrific human suffering.


In 2001, the Bush administration sponsored legislation to allow federal funding of stem cell research. But funded research was restricted to the stem cell colonies in existence at that time. Frist and others would expand funding to cover new stem cell lines created from frozen embryos left over from fertility treatments, embryos that would otherwise be discarded. (It's possible that new techniques could yield stem cells without destroying embryos, but those techniques are still experimental.)


Why would anyone oppose Frist's new position? Because embryos are potential infants just as infants are potential adults. The human embryo is a tightly closed bud that will bloom one day if we let it. The difference between bud and blossom is only luck and time. If it seems OK to destroy embryos but not full-term fetuses, that's only because embryos look less human. The distinction rests not on justice but on squeamishness.


But this isn't my reason for opposing expanded stem cell funding. I am willing, in principle, to lean on a distinction that is made in the Talmud between "potential" life (such as embryos) and actual life outside the womb. Both must be protected; but actual life ranks higher. If there were nothing more to consider, I'd be willing to use doomed embryos to search for lifesaving new technologies. Reality often forces us to choose between imperfect alternatives.


But to go down that road, I must be able to trust the American public to draw a line and forbid science to step over it.

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The doomed frozen embryos Frist is eyeing were created with no thought of mining them for stem cells. But the obvious next step might be to let scientists breed embryos specifically for research, or buy them from dealers. To support Frist, you must be sure that Americans will never permit these ghastly next steps.


Why "ghastly"? Because we can never permit the creation of human life with the intent of using and then killing it. We have no right to construct a world in which two kinds of human embryo exist, one immeasurably precious and the other designed to be cut up for parts. We'd be turning "all men are created equal" into the ugliest kind of lie. (The Talmud, for its part, never allows potential life to be destroyed without a specific, powerful reason.)


Can we trust the American public to forbid the creation of disposable human life? Can we trust ourselves to forbid the premeditated destruction of weak and helpless potential human beings?


No, and the Terri Schiavo case proves it.


Schiavo was weak, helpless, gravely brain-damaged, "dimly wakeful," unable to feed herself — but not dying. Her parents loved her, and she (they believed) continued to love them.


Yet various courts ruled at her husband's request that her life wasn't worth living. And so her caregivers were ordered to stop feeding her. "Even a chip of ice to relieve the pain of a parched mouth and throat was judicially prohibited," wrote Dr. Paul McHugh in Commentary magazine, "and local sheriffs were alerted to prevent it." She died slowly of dehydration. Surveys suggested that the American public didn't care to interfere, and disapproved of politicians who tried to.


Can this same public be trusted to tell the biomedical establishment "this far and no further"? Of course not. When hard moral judgments were required, whatever the "experts" said was good enough for us. We refused to interfere and draw a line. And so we have no right to allow science to set off down this road.


I have permanent, debilitating injuries that stem cell research might conceivably help. But rejecting research that might help you personally is dirt-easy compared to rejecting research that might help a suffering family member. When Americans campaign for unrestricted stem cell research out of despairing love, I can't blame them any more than I can blame Terri Schiavo's parents for pleading for their daughter's life.


How much do our moral scruples really matter to us in the end? An agonizing question.


But I can't line up with Frist, much as I would like to.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Yale professor David Gelernter is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, Jerusalem. To comment, please click here.


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© 2005, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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