NotreDame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown and William Gilroy

Notre Dame ReSources
August 9, 2001

Please feel free to call the following Notre Dame faculty for additional comment on President Bush’s forthcoming decision on whether to allow federal funding for embroyonic stem cell research: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

? In the debate over whether to allow federal funding of stem-cell research, Notre Dame geneticist Harvey Bender believes the potential for good trumps possible problems. “Do you fundamentally say that we’re not going to let any research go forward because someone might do something unethical?” Bender, a professor of biology, asked in an interview in the South Bend Tribune. Using the analogy of an airplane, he said: “Planes are everywhere. Planes were used to drop bombs at Hiroshima. But should we say that no plane should ever be used because it could be used mischievously. It’s exciting, and it’s terribly important, and we need more light and less heat on the subject” so that “sane research” can go forward. Professor Bender can be reached for further comment in his office, (219) 631-7075, or at home, (219) 289-6881. p. ? Ethicist W. David Solomon, the White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame, opposes the federal funding of stem cell research. “No one doubts that such research might lead to medical breakthroughs, but arguments based on this claim have led to a host of research atrocities in this century from the racist labs in Tuskegee to the charnel house of Nazi medical experimentation,” he said. “Good intentions, alas, don’t always make for morally acceptable experiments. Those researchers hoping that we will declare open season on the ‘spare’ embryos left over at fertility clinics and the million-plus dead fetuses going out the back door of abortion clinics in this country each year ignore the complex and unsettled nature of the moral issues involved. Until our society comes to terms with these issures, we act correctly in restraining the research ambitions fueled by the technological imperative and by the research funds always available from drug companies flush with profits.” Professor Solomon can be reached for further comment in this office,(219)631-6229, or home, (219)277-3443.

TopicID: 2588