Human Exceptionalism

Saletan, Part 5

In his fifth installment in Slate, Will Saletan warns that artificial wombs are coming in which cloned fetuses could be gestated without implantation in human uteruses. Moreover, he notes, the law is not keeping pace with the advance of the science nor are our leaders apparently cognizant of the ongoing twisting of scientific “ethics” to justify treating nascent human life as so many harvestable crops (my term). He writes:

“Step by step, science is erasing the moral distinctions that kept us safe and sane. Artificial wombs erase the line between in vitro embryos and implanted embryos. Whole-embryo organ culture erases the line between therapeutic and reproductive cloning.”

Meanwhile, the mainstream media, typically missing the forest for the trees, remains fixated on whether the federal government will fund stem cell research that destroys leftover IVF embryos and on speculation that the Frist announcement to overturn the Bush policy will (they hope) harm the president politically. But this discussion is already bordering on quaint. As Saletan has demonstrated, scientists are busily untethering themselves from almost all moral and ethical restraints. We know what they want. The question still to be decided: Do we intend to go along?