Viewpoint: Political left, right and sprinkling of bioethicists express concern about modifying rules on embryo research

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Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

On May 26, the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), a non-governmental  organization of scientists, released newly revised guidelines for research scientists. 

A month later, reactions continue to be published, and for once most of them are critical, from a wide variety of perspectives.

The almost immediate CGS analysis noted several problems, as did other early reactions from the eminent Canadian bioethicist Françoise Baylis, on her own and jointly with South African bioethicist and attorney Sheetal Soni

More pushback… has come from, among others, David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre at Oxford, who complains about a “shifting goalpost” and stresses that the 14-day rule had survived so long mostly because scientists had been unable to culture a human embryo for more than 13 days.

Jones is a Catholic and believes that any experiments on an embryo represent “a grave injustice and a form of exploitation.” So do other conservatives, including Ross Douthat in the New York Times and John Burger in Aleteia.

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In sum, the ISSCR guidelines are facing criticism from social progressives, from social conservatives, from bioethicists, from theologians, from scientists, and even from bioentrepreneurs.

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Related article:  Quickly-advancing human embryo research raises prickly ethical questions
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