HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, December 13, 2004

President's Council on Bioethics: Transcripts Posted

Stemcellpic11 The President's Council on Bioethics web site has posted the transcripts of its meetings on Dec. 2 and 3, the latter being the date of Chairman Kass' comments about presentations that described two promising "morally unproblematic" sources of human embryonic stem cells. 

As discussed here previously, "[t]he two ideas considered by the council represent different ways to obtain embryonic stem cells without destroying an embryo:

One, crafted by council member Dr. William Hurlbut, a conservative bioethicist at Stanford University, would engineer a human egg so that it creates cells equivalent to human embryonic stem cells but never develops into an actual embryo.

The other idea, presented by two Columbia University professors, proposes devising standards for declaring an embryo ''dead." If it is ethically acceptable to allow organ donation from patients who have been declared brain dead, they reason, then it should be acceptable to remove cells from an embryo that has been declared dead.

Despite the support of at least some conservatives on the Council, proposal based upon "embryo death" has drawn fire from the Associate Executive Director of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, Dr. Gene Rudd, in an interview that was background for a story in The Christian Post on Dec. 8.

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