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Genetic Crossroads
November 15th, 2006

"Mortal Combat: The Exploding Politics of Biotechnology," by William Saletan, Slate (November 11)
"To eradicate diseases with today's technology, you'd have to screen embryos and flush the ones with bad genes. With tomorrow's technology, you'll be able to re-engineer them. Each of these advances saves life at the price of dissolving it. We're taking ourselves apart….We're so not ready for this. But we can't stop ourselves. So we try to simplify the oncoming technologies, treating them like issues we already know. On the right, that means equating ESC research with abortion….On the left, the instinct is to treat ESC research like health care."

"Australia Senate Lifts Ban on Cloning," Associated Press (November 7)
"Australia's Senate narrowly voted to end the country's four-year ban on cloning human embryos for stem cell research, ruling…that the potential for medical breakthroughs outweighed moral doubts.The decision -- a rare conscience vote in a country where lawmakers are expected to follow the party line -- sets the stage for the ban to be lifted entirely. The measure now goes to Australia's House of Representatives, but lawmakers had expected the Senate to pose the biggest hurdle."

"A Pro-Woman Stem-Cell Policy," by Marcy Darnovsky, TomPaine.com (October 26)
"But some women's health advocates and policy makers are beginning to grapple seriously with the issue of egg procurement for research and the tricky ethical challenges it poses. They are asking hard questions about how women can meaningfully consent to egg retrieval when there is so little data about the safety of the procedure. And they are proposing bottom-line criteria about oversight and regulation that will reduce the risks to women who agree to provide their eggs to researchers."

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