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June 30, 2006

Scientists Outflanking

The Weekly Standard doesn't like it, but this strikes me as a pretty damn good idea. In Missouri, voters are about to decide on a Constitutional amendment banning reproductive human cloning but enabling stem cells (which the article argues is a type of cloning itself). The trick is that you define cloning as the transfer of an embryo into a uterus, banning that. Reproductive cloning is thus off the table, but the using cloned embryos for stem cell research is legal. Given that what folks think of by cloning is the duplication of human beings, while this is the manufacturing of stem cell lines, the definitional amendment seems to get the issue just right, and does so rather smartly. Were that the rest of the progressive movement as savvy as the stem cell advocates.

June 30, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Can't get this link to work....is it just me?

Posted by: Fred Jones. | Jun 30, 2006 2:16:50 PM

It must be just you. Worked fine for me.

Posted by: William Bollinger | Jun 30, 2006 2:21:03 PM

Now that's freaky. I clicked on it again, and it's dead. Their server must be overloaded. Keep trying. You'll eventually get through.

Posted by: William Bollinger | Jun 30, 2006 2:23:13 PM

Picky grammatical question here, but is "were that" the right construction for Ezra's last sentence? I've always heard "would that... were" in those contexts.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 30, 2006 3:14:17 PM

If one of the two William Bollinger comments above comes from a clone, I think it's only appropriate to point out the possibility of bias.

Posted by: alkali | Jun 30, 2006 3:23:40 PM

The trick is that you define cloning as the transfer of an embryo into a uterus, banning that.

What happens to conventional in vitro fertilization?

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Jun 30, 2006 4:01:22 PM

Conservatives are avid about using terms that favor their position and degrade their opponents (see: death tax; Patriot Act), so I don't see a problem with using favorable terms that avoid semantic-emotional controversy.

Can we now call Republican deficit spending the 'childbirth tax' and change the 'unitary executive' to Royal Prerogative?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 30, 2006 4:03:44 PM

Yeah, as Neil the EW said, you have mangled the syntax. It should go

"WOULD that the rest of the progressive movement WERE as savvy as the stem cell advocates."

("Would" here being equivalent to "I wish that"--see the OED on present-preterite modal verbs.

Posted by: o | Jun 30, 2006 4:26:52 PM

Interestingly, there appears to be big money behind the initiative. You couldn't walk two blocks down the street without encountering someone soliciting signatures for the petition. Slick and persuasive ads have been all over the media for months. The wingnuts have been outspent and thoroughly outflanked on this issue and it's now affecting the senate race where Jim Talent is perceived by a growing number of Missourians as being on the wrong side of the debate. So who's bankrolling this campaign? Big Pharma would be my guess.

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