Political Interventions in U.S. Human Embryo Research: An Ethical Assessment
Article first published online: 21 JUN 2010
© 2010 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics
Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 220–228, Summer 2010
How to Cite
Green, R. M. (2010), Political Interventions in U.S. Human Embryo Research: An Ethical Assessment. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 38: 220–228. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2010.00482.x
- Issue published online: 21 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 21 JUN 2010
For more than 30 years, beginning with the Reagan administration's refusal to support and provide oversight for embryo research, and continuing to the present in congressionally imposed limits on funding for such research, progress in infertility medicine and the development of stem cell therapies has been seriously delayed by a series of political interventions. In almost all cases, these interventions result from a view of the moral status of human embryo premised largely on religious assumptions. Although some believe that these interventions are valid expressions of religious values in the public sector, it is argued here that they, in fact, contradict Rawls's conception of public reasoning. Both the prohibition of research involving the human embryo as well as bans on federal funding for embryo-related research place the particular religious views of some citizens above the pressing health needs of almost all, and thus violate the ideal of civility implicit in the Rawlsian standard.