Arguments in favor of research on human embryos typically play off our unfamiliarity with the way that we ourselves once appeared and existed as embryos. Humans in their tiniest stages are indeed unfamiliar to us, and they hardly look anything like “one of us.” Yet the undeniable conclusion, that every one of us was once an embryo, remains an indisputable scientific dogma, causing a “fingernails on the chalkboard” phenomenon for researchers every time they choose to experiment on embryos or destroy them for research. To enable scientists to get beyond the knowledge that they’re experimenting on or destroying fellow humans, clever stratagems and justifications have had to be devised. Among the more successful of these approaches has been the well-known “14-day rule.”
Making Sense Of Bioethics – by Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at the NCBC, is the author of a column called Making Sense of Bioethics that appears in various diocesan newspapers across the United States of America.