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Douthat: stem cell hypocrisy3 min read

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Ross Douthat, of The Atlantic and soon to be of The New York Times, discusses the charge of hypocrisy at pro-lifers in the ESCR debate.

In reply to a column by Michael Kinsley, Douthat wrote:

Pro-lifers are often damned for being uncompromising zealots; here
Kinsley is taking a case where the pro-life movement pretty clearly has
gone in for compromise – drawing the line at having their tax dollars
used for embryo-killing, rather than trying to get the practice banned
outright – and damning them for being morally unserious. Heads he wins,
tails we lose, I guess.  As should be clear from other examples, at home and abroad, most pro-lifers would like to heavily regulate fertility clinics, and would support efforts to give every embryo a chance at life.
(I will pass over his line about miscarriages, which seems to imply
a "serious" pro-life movement would be trying to pass laws against
accidental deaths.) But that's not where the national debate is at the
moment, to put it mildly, so instead pro-lifers have done what you're
supposed to do in a democracy, which is to meet the general public
where they are. This doesn't make them insincere; it makes them

of Kinsley's argumentation on the ESCR debate is based on his condition
(he has Parkinson's) and the possibility that ESCR might help him. That
is indeed sad, but it has no bearing on the discussion. My mom is in
the same condition. I've seen the impact it can have personally, but neither my mom's or Kinsley's condition has any real impact on the debate.

As has been demonstrated on this site (unfortunately) the ESCR debate tends to generate a lot of heat and not much light, one of the first steps toward changing that is to better understand the positions of the  differing side and to do that through non-accusatory means.

As someone who views the embryos as persons is it very difficult for me to understand the desire to destroy them in order to fuel a hope that the destruction might one day help another person.

For those who disagree with me, it is very difficult for them to see (from their perspective) how anyone would be against using human cells in potentially life saving research, especially when they would be thrown away anyway.

Despite the wide gulf between us, we must recognize that their is a dilemma both morally and politically (which Kinsley refuses to admit) and that each side has good points in every facet of the discussion, when you consider things from their perspective.

Therefore, ignorantly slinging the pejorative of "hypocrite" does nothing for the debate and speaks less of the accused than it does of the accuser.