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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 16, 2009 / 20 Adar 5769

Embryos and ethics

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Shortly after the president announced his new policy on funding embryonic stem-cell research, CNN's Larry King devoted a special program to the subject. His first guest was Mary Tyler Moore, the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, who has long been involved in raising funds and awareness for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, a disease for which there is still no cure.


"I am so pleased with the thought and care that he put into making this decision. I think it's a good one," Moore told King when he asked for her reaction to the president's statement. "What's wonderful too is that this means that the United States will maintain its leadership in things medical and scientific. . . . So this is a very good thing."


Moore's words of praise might not strike you as exceptional, given the widespread approval last week of President Obama's order reversing the Bush administration's restrictions. But Moore wasn't speaking about Obama. Her interview on "Larry King Live" followed President Bush's stem-cell decision, which was announced in a televised address on Aug. 9, 2001. Also joining the conversation that night was Christopher Reeve. His take on Bush's policy was "a little bit more mixed," he acknowledged. "However, I think it is a step in the right direction. I'm grateful for that to the president."


For eight years Bush's critics caricatured him as a Bible-thumping yahoo for whom ideology routinely trumped science, so it might be difficult to remember that the policy he articulated in 2001 was anything but a knee-jerk rejection of scientific progress. The commentator Charles Krauthammer — a graduate of Harvard Medical School, a quadriplegic, and a former member of the President's Council on Bioethics who did not agree with Bush's decision — recalled it a few days ago nonetheless as "the single most morally serious presidential speech on medical ethics ever given." In it, Bush explained why "embryonic stem-cell research offers both great promise and great peril," conscientiously laying out the arguments for and against supporting such research with tax dollars. In the end, he concluded that federal funding could be justified for work on existing stem-cell lines, but not for research that would require the destruction of additional human embryos. Bush's decision had clearly been reached after much deliberation and consultation. "I don't think he did it just politically," Reeve observed. "I do believe he really thought about it."


Obama had an opportunity last week to deliver an equally thoughtful speech. He could have explored the moral dilemmas involved in exploiting a living embryo to advance scientific knowledge. Instead he resorted to political rhetoric and ill-disguised scorn for his predecessor.


The president rejected the "false choice between sound science and moral values" that supposedly characterized the Bush policy, and declared that his administration would "make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology." Promoting science, Obama said, means "letting scientists . . . do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion" and "listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient."


But science is not an unqualified good, and scientific ends do not justify any and all means. It is not "manipulation" or "coercion" or "ideology" to insist that scientific research — especially when funded by taxpayers — be restrained by moral and ethical guardrails. The absence of those guardrails can lead to such abominations as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, in which government doctors — with the support of the American Medical Association — deliberately withheld medical treatment from infected black men in order to better understand the natural progression of venereal disease. Those who raised ethical qualms about the study were disregarded by the Public Health Service — an example of what Obama might call rejecting the "false choice between sound science and moral values."


Like most Americans, I don't believe that microscopic human embryos deserve all the legal protections of personhood. But whether it is right to kill such embryos for the sake of medical research is not just a question about science; it is also a question of moral and political judgment. Public officials are called on to make those judgments, not to simply defer to whatever scientists say they want. Obama blithely concedes that "many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research." Yet at no point did he articulate or address those concerns, let alone attempt to allay them.


"If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable," Dr. James Thomson, the pioneer of embryonic stem-cell science, told The New York Times in 2007, "you have not thought about it enough." Thomson's remark has been widely quoted, but it seems not everyone has gotten the message.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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