Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal
ethics, embryos for research
The creation of embryos for research use has drawn a great deal of criticism. It is difficult to defend an ethical distinction between what one can do to "spare" embryos and what one can do to "research" embryos. The strongest ground on which to argue against the creation of embryos for research is a symbolic one, having to do with respect for human life. Ronald Dworkin's work in Life's Dominion on the symbolic meaning of the abortion debate throws a helpful light on this dispute. By understanding the basic question to be, Does the creation of research embryos weaken or insult our communal respect for the sanctity of human life in some way that in vitro fertilization (IVF) or the experimental use of "spare" embryos does not?, the debate can move in a more constructive direction.
Dena S. Davis, Embryos Created for Research Purposes, 5 Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 343 (December 1995)