Where do we draw the line on the right to life?
Scientists will propose at a conference tomorrow that human embryos used for experimentation should be kept alive in the laboratory for double the present legal limit of 14 days. Such an extension, they argue, would bring significant insights into congenital conditions, heart disease and cancers. The only argument against it, they say, is the risk of a public backlash.
That particular concern is echoed by the philosopher Baroness Warnock, who has warned that opponents of embryo research will seize on attempts to extend the limit as an opportunity to try to block all experiments on embryos.
No wonder Lady Warnock and the scientists are concerned. They may find they have opened Pandora’s box and released a spirit of moral revulsion from the petri dish where for the past three decades it has been so inhumanly confined.