The blog.bioethics.net links to several online reports about the Bioethics and Politics conference, including LifeEthics and this one from the Scientist, covering one of the paper sessions. ( Covered by LifeEthics last week.)
It seems that Missouri legislators would not vote to approve embryonic stem cell research if the bill had the word “embryo” in it. The subject of research was changed to “left over material,” and “unused material.”
As I commented on the Scientist,
The use of alternate language to obscure the meaning of law does not sound ethical to me.
Are the lawmakers too dumb to learn the science or do they believe that the voters are too dumb to be educated on the facts?
Or is it just that the elitists know better than we do what is good for us?
As I pointed out to the panel, the new International Stem Cell Research Guidelines has an excellent glossary. If there is truly contention about the definition of embryo, perhaps a good reference would help.
From comments that were made in several of the forums, the purpose of the Progressive Bioethics Institute [luncheon] – an invitation only political meeting just prior to the opening of Thursday’s session – was to discuss strategy that included just this sort of redefining and renaming in order to influence the public and legislators.