Kass, Brownback, Suppression of Medical Research

As something of a followup to yesterday's post on Leon Kass et al, I though I'd point out an article from Wired on the topic. It gives a little more detail on the latest round of efforts to suppress medical research likely to produce therapies and cures for age-related degenerative conditions - not to mention the related infighting.

On Thursday, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) reintroduced a bill to ban human cloning that has failed to pass twice since 2001. The bill would ban both reproductive cloning, which would lead to a baby, and therapeutic cloning of the type researchers believe could lead to treatments for human diseases.

But a new group has entered the debate. Led by Leon Kass, chair of the President's Council on Bioethics, and Eric Cohen, editor in chief of The New Atlantis, a conservative journal on technology and society, the group says Brownback's strategy is flawed.

Brownback's bill "appears unlikely to succeed in the next Congress as well," the group wrote in a document listing its goals. The American Journal of Bioethics blog published text from the document.

Titled "Bioethics for the Second Term: Legislative Recommendations," the group's plan says in part: "Meanwhile, South Koreans successfully cloned human embryos; British HFEA authorizes human cloning-for-research; Harvard scientists get permission to do human cloning-for-research; a right to do such research is constitutionalized in California and endorsed in several other states. We did not get the preferred convention passed at the United Nations. We have lost much ground."

So there you have it - groups still soldiering on in their attempts to ban promising medical research that will lead to longer, healthier lives. These efforts have greatly damaged progress by scaring away vast pools of potential private funding for new medical technologies based on therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research, as well as encouraging the sort of legislative interference and nonsense that has dominated the field over the past few years. I strongly encourage you to contact your elected representatives to make your opinions known on this matter.

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