Embryo: A Defense of Human Life.

Position:Book review

George, Robert P. & Christopher Tollefsen. Embryo: A Defense of Human Life. New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, 2008; www.doubleday.com.

The national debate over abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research have created an unbridgeable gap between persons of faith and those who insist that faith-based views have no place in public policy. This book is a timely consideration of the nature and rights of human embryos. The authors eschew religious arguments and make a purely scientific and philosophical case that the fetus, from the instant of conception, is a human being, with all the moral and political rights inherent in that status. As such, stem cell research that destroys a viable embryo represents the unacceptable taking of a human life.

There is no room in their view for a "moral dualism" that regards being a "person" as merely a stage in a human life span. An embryo does not exist in a "pre-personal" stage that omits the inviolable rights otherwise ascribed to persons. Instead, the authors argue, the right not to be intentionally killed is inherent in the fact of being a human being, and that status begins at the moment of conception.

Moreover, just as no one should be excluded from moral and legal protections...

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