Saturday, May 01, 2004

Don't Have One

As usual I thought I had something to say and when blogging time came, I forgot it. Hmm. OK, well how's this for a substitute: At the ask-the-experts thing the experts gave the other night, they talked about research on rats, and also mentioned potential work with fetal stem cells. Here in the US the president put limits on stem cell research to placate his supporters on the religious right. Anyway, the pictures of the suffering rats were sad, and I realized that by virtue of having this disease, I am now directly effected by two raging emotional debates: animal testing and abortion. Calm down. Breathe deeply.

OK, first off, I think that animals being used for medical research should be treated humanely within the limits of possibility, given that the reserach is inherently cruel. I think animal research should be supervised and subject to a review and approval process. But beyond that, go ahead and experiment on those animals. It could save my life and the lives of many people in my situation.

As for abortion ... I think we're all against it and think it is emotionally painful. But it's not murder or anything close to it, and I fully support a woman's right to choose. If researchers need to use fetal stem cells to try to cure the disease I have and other diseases, then, if subject to appropriate controls and approval, by all means let them do it.

Let's not have an agreement festival here, though. Today I saw a bumper sticker that said "Against Abortion? Then don't have one." For some years I had been under the impression that this bumper sticker was intended to be a persuasive one, an irrefutable solution that takes the wind out of the sails of the supposed pro-lifers. But today I realized that it could only be an affirming message -- something meant to reassure those who already agree with it. You see, as a matter of affirmation, I agree with the bumper sticker. But as a matter of persuasive rhetoric, it fails, given the ready retort: "Against murder? Then don't commit one."
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