February 22, 2024

Confusion over McCain’s stand on beginning of life

Life begins at conception, but he supports embryo research
John McCain, Rick Warren, Barack ObamaStrict consistency in politicians is a rare quality, as the media is
fond of reminding us – and them. So it was odd that major
newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall
Street Journal failed to note the odd position of presidential
candidate Senator John McCain about the beginning of human life. In
the Saddleback debate organised by evangelical pastor Rick Warren
recently he stated unequivocally that he believes "a baby [is]
entitled to human rights" "[a]t the moment of conception".

But how does this square with his strong support of human embryonic
stem cell research? And would he try to stop in vitro fertilisation,
abortifacient birth control, or the morning-after pill? Not very
well, as bioethicist R. Alta Charo noted in USA Today: "If he
believes in human rights at the moment of conception, then he ought
to be against embryonic stem cell research."

The issue was raised,
indirectly, by Rick Warren, who pressed McCain for his views on stem
cell research. He responded that while he supported embryo research,
he felt that the recent development of reprogrammed stem cells
(induced pluripotent stem cells) would make the older technology
unnecessary. “For those of us in the pro-life community this has
been a great struggle and a terrible dilemma… I’ve come down on the
side of stem cell research. But I am wildly optimistic that skin cell
research, which is coming more and more into focus and
practicability, will make this debate an academic one.”

McCain’s opponent,
Senator Barack Obama, is a strong supporter of human embyronic stem
cell research. ~
Matters, Aug 20