Friday, September 23, 2005

Bias in the news...

Ya think? Really? Here is a perfect example of using non-specific language to obscure the truth.

Embryonic stem cells are controversial because of origin. Most are leftovers from fertility clinics, allowed to grow in culture several days beyond fertilization.

You might think that fertility clinics are in the business of growing stem cells. I sorta thought people put up with the trouble of IVF and AI in order to come home with babies. Babies begin as embryos. Embryos contain embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are not leftover at fertility clinics; embryos are.

In turn, the group has turned to Harvard Medical School lawyer and ethicist Louis M. Guenin to draft the language of the ballot measure, seeking to avoid what happened to a California version of publicly financed stem cell research - still without funding three years after it was approved.

This one is just flat out wrong. Proposition 71 was passed during the presidential election last fall. It is almost 1 year since it was approved. Not three. At least you can get the political facts straight.

To begin with, Aaronson's proposal would put the Florida Department of Health in charge of issuing money to qualified scientists and would issue the grants only to nonprofit research institutions.

Oh good, because you know there might be a moral problem with making a profit off of the embryos. Nothing wrong with ending their lives, but making money off of it might be a little, um, gauche.

And to avoid what is a moral dilemma for many, including Governor Jeb Bush, Aaronson's proposal states that the only embryos used will be those donated by women who individually specify that those cells will not be implanted in any other woman's womb."

De-personalize, de-personalize - that's the name of the game. They don't want those "cells" implanted in bad they forget that those cells are already somebody.

Furthermore that line of reasoning, that the embryos aren't really people because they won't be implanted in a womb, is completely fallacious and won't remove any controversy from the issue. As the President's Bioethics Council noted:
The fact that embryos have been created outside their natural environment-which is to say, outside the woman’s body-and are therefore limited in their ability to realize their natural capacities, does not affect either the potential or the moral status of the beings themselves. A bird forced to live in a cage its entire life may never learn to fly. But this does not mean it is less of a bird, or that it lacks the immanent potentiality to fly on feathered wings. It means only that a caged bird-like an in vitro human embryo-has been deprived of its proper environment”