[Paleopsych] Center for Bioethics and Culture: Interview with Christine Rosen plus European Union Will not Destroy Embryos
checker at panix.com
Fri Apr 15 20:20:06 UTC 2005
Interview with Christine Rosen plus European Union Will not Destroy Embryos
Interview: CBC National Director Jennifer Lahl interviews Christine
1. Why did you write Preaching Eugenics? Was there a big overarching
questions you were attempting to answer?
I wrote Preaching Eugenics because I thought it was important to
describe this unknown part of our eugenic past. I took it up not in
the spirit of an expose (indeed, I wasn't even sure what I'd find when
I started working my way through the archives) but as an effort to
contribute to existing scholarship on the subject - a new layer of
mortar and brick for the already impressive wall of scholarly work
about eugenics in the United States, if you will. If I began with any
overarching question in mind, it was a broad one: what was the
relationship between religion and science in this time and place (the
early twentieth century United States) and what role did eugenics play
in that relationship?
2. Who were the religious leaders propagating this growing social
movement? Why did they support it?
Across denominations and faiths, the Protestants, Catholics, and Jews
who supported eugenics were overwhelmingly from the liberal end of the
theological spectrum. This did not mean that they were
 politically liberal, of course, but they
did tend to share a commitment to a non-literal reading of scripture
and were optimistic about the benefits that modern science might bring
to bear on the many pressing social problems they felt the country
faced. Most of the religious supporters of eugenics had long ago
reconciled their faiths with evolutionary theory, for example, and
many of them had considerable experience in charities and corrections
work, which colored their views about things such as degeneracy and
poverty. Broadly speaking, why did they support it? These were
religious leaders who embraced modern ideas first and adjusted their
theologies later. Most of them did this because they sincerely
believed, with most progressives at the time, that eugenics would
alleviate human suffering.
3. What was going on with early feminism at this time? Was there a
role the feminists played to support this movement or were there
voices speaking out against it?
One of the most vigorous supporters of eugenics was birth control
activist Margaret Sanger. She lobbied intensely, and ultimately
successfully, for the organized eugenics movement and the birth
control movement to join forces to improve the human race by
preventing reproduction among the "less fit" members of society. At an
international eugenics conference in 1921, for example, Sanger said,
"The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the
overfertility of the mentally and physically defective." Her
periodical, the Birth Control Review, published many supportive
articles about eugenics and in her book, Woman and the New Race, she
wrote that birth control "is nothing more or less than the
facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, or preventing
the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives." This
certainly places her far outside the mainstream of feminism today, and
many feminists are loath to acknowledge Sanger's avid embrace of
eugenics, but in the early twentieth century, among self-described
progressives such as Sanger, this was an entirely acceptable view to
4. Who were the voices crying out against this early eugenics
movement? And to what effect?
Some of the most vigorous opponents of eugenics were Catholics and
conservative Protestants. In books and periodicals, they registered
their complaints about eugenics and its outgrowths--including
immigration restriction and compulsory sterilization of the "unfit."
Catholic detractors usually cited natural law teaching in their
opposition to eugenics, while conservative Protestants (many of whom
still resisted evolutionary theory), drew on scripture. They did have
some impact; indeed, Catholic lobbying efforts at the state level were
successful many times in preventing the passage of state eugenic
Ethics and Public Policy Center
European Union Will not Destroy Embryos
Commission clarifies its ethical framework for research 4/11/2005
(cordis news) When the Commission published its proposals for the
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) on 6 April, many observers were keen
to know how it would deal with ethical issues, such as whether or not
to fund embryonic stem cell research.
In response, the Commission has published a memo
outlining its proposed approach to ethical issues under FP7, and
clarifying the situation with regard to embryonic stem cell research
under the current programme.
According to the Commission, two specific passages in the FP7
proposals sum up its approach to ethical issues. First: 'Research
activities supported by this Framework Programme should respect
fundamental ethical principles, including those reflected in the
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The opinions of
the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technology are and
will be taken into account.'
Second, the proposals state that: 'All the research activities carried
out under the Seventh Framework Programme shall be carried out in
compliance with fundamental ethical principles.'
As an example of how such an approach could be applied in practice,
the Commission outlined its treatment of embryonic stem cell research
under the current framework programme. In all cases, the EU strictly
forbids funding for research that involves human reproductive cloning,
the creation of embryos for research (or therapeutic cloning), or
research that would alter the human genetic heritage.
Furthermore, the EU will not fund a project in a particular Member
State that involves research practices that are forbidden in that
particular country. The Commission also refuses to fund projects that
involve the derivation of stem cells from embryos directly, which
would imply the destruction of a supernumerary embryo for the purposes
of EU research.
There is no element of FP6 that directly calls for projects involving
any type of stem cell research, the Commission points out. When it
does receive proposals from researchers wishing to make use of stem
cells, priority is always given to those involving adult stem cells,
which, it says, pose no ethical problems.
The result so far under FP6 is that of the 25 projects involving stem
cell research to be selected for EU funding, only two include a
component on embryonic stem cells, which together amount to 0.002 per
cent of the total FP6 budget.
More information about the paleopsych