Published May 1, 2004
Eric Cohen’s essay puts forward a powerful critique of supporters of embryo research: Their case, Cohen argues, is mystical or revolutionary, and constitutes a rejection of the very principle of equality to which most of them swear first allegiance. He accuses them of the two sins they most enjoy attributing to their opponents: irrationality and inegalitarianism.
The irony is delicious. But it does have something of a bitter aftertaste. While the essay argues well that the path of embryo research leads to an abandonment of our foundational commitment to equality, it also argues that the only other choice may be to martyr one’s children to the higher truth of equality. One cannot help but wonder if these are really our only options, and if there may not be some way to muddle through the middle and live well without giving up the hope of curing the sick child.