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    Bush's Veto

    I feel obliged to come to the president's defense on his embryonic stem cell research veto. I find the absolutism of those who view a blastocyst as a human person to be morally unpersuasive, but I cannot see how it can be seen as anything other than human life. I know also that many of these superfluous blastocysts and embryos will be discarded anyway and so not using them for research does not protect them from extinction. Nevertheless, it is hard not to be troubled by the line this crosses. Human life is created and then experimented on to save other human lives. I think the argument for the benefits of such research is compelling; there's little doubt that this avenue could be extremely fruitful. I live with one of the diseases, HIV, it might help cure or treat. For those reasons, I don't believe such research should be banned - or even that individual states shouldn't, if their citizens support it, directly finance such research from the public purse. I'm a federalist. But when a very significant number of Americans feel deeply that this really is morally unconscionable, and when the research is taking place anyway under other auspices, I see no reason why the feds should actively finance this research as well. I don't think that Bush's compromise is so unreasonable, in other words. This isn't a ban on such research; it's a decision not to throw the weight of federal financing behind it. I respect the case of those who favor it; but, when push comes to shove, I'm with Bush on this. It took political courage to take this stand. And the morality it reflects - a refusal to treat human life as a means rather than as an end - deserves respect even from its opponents.