Watching medicine succumb to physician-assisted suicide in the western states, Obama’s death panels, insurance companies being forced to pay for contraception, conscience protections for medical professionals being squeezed, pregnancy reductions proceed all the way to killing a twin to produce a singleton, the obscene funding of embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage…
Many ask how it is we got here. It wasn’t by leaps and bounds, but by incrementalism. All along the way, our caution was ridiculed by the other side. “That’s ridiculous! That’ll never happen!” we were told repeatedly. And then, slowly but surely, we arrived to where we are today.
Consider this quote from former Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Leon Kass, M.D., in Human Cloning and Human Dignity, The Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics:
“We should not be self-deceived about our ability to set limits on the exploitation of nascent life. What disturbs us today we quickly or eventually get used to; yesterday’s repugnance gives way to tomorrow’s endorsement. A society that already tolerates the destruction of fetuses in the second and third trimesters will hardly be horrified by embryo and fetus farming (including in animal wombs), if this should turn out to be helpful in the cure of dreaded diseases.
“We realize, of course, that many proponents of cloning-for-biomedical-research will recommend regulations designed to prevent just such abuses (that is, the expansion of research to later-stage cloned embryos and fetuses). Refusing to erect a red light to stop research cloning, they will propose various yellow lights intended to assure ourselves that we are proceeding with caution, limits, or tears. Paradoxically, however, the effect might actually be to encourage us to continue proceeding with new (or more hazardous) avenues of research; for, believing that we are being cautious, we have a good conscience about what we do, and we are unable to imagine ourselves as people who could take a morally disastrous next step. We are neither wise enough nor good enough to live without clear limits.”
It’s time we backed political candidates who espouse clear, red lights.