The Washington Post reports that the stem cell research controversy is spreading from Washington throughout the nation. In reporter Peter Slevin’s words: The moral debate over embryonic stem cells stretches far beyond Capitol Hill to state capitals and research parks across the country, where a fierce competition is underway from Maryland to California for cutting-edge research and the profits that could follow.
A focal point of the article is the establishment of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Missouri. Here’s how the paper describes the situation: Here in Missouri, a similar battle is raging over the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, which has built a $300 million laboratory and stocked it with sophisticated machines for nearly 200 scientists recruited from as far afield as China and Argentina. Yet social conservatives in the Missouri legislature are effectively blocking some of the most ambitious research envisioned by the Stowers staff, saying that research with embryonic stem cells is so immoral it should be a crime.
Inevitably, this issue points to the basic divide between those primarily committed to unrestrained market capitalism and those who are driven by larger moral concerns.