This is another way of posing the question I asked about embryonic stem cell research a few posts back.
Frank: The abortion issue, of course, spills over into the debate about embryonic stem cell research, and raises a very interesting issue.
The pro-life, or conceptionist position, is that human life, and the right to life, begins at conception. This, of course implies that, once conceived, from its initial state as as zygote to when it dies, the human being possesses certain basic rights, including the right to life. Hence abortion is ruled out except in cases where homicide is justified, and homicide is not justified in the vast majority of abortion cases (danger to the life of the mother being the primary type of case where the requirements of justifiable homicide are met). But this protects not only fetuses, but also frozen embryos, which are created but not implanted. These are persons also, and therefore pro-life arguments extend to them, and it is homicide (and therefore murder if there is no moral justification for homicide) to use those embryos for embryonic stem cell research, since such use destroys the life of the embryos.
The question then arises as to what other rights these embryos have in addition to the right to life. I take it that ordinary fetuses have other rights besides the right to life. If embryos are frozen into the indefinite future, does this do a moral disservice to them? They get to live, but they never get a life, as it were. If life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are basic rights, then do we not have an obligation to these embryos to give them the opportunity to grow up, be free, and pursue happiness, as opposed to leaving them in a frozen prison.
Or do embryos and fetuses have only the right to life? That strikes me as highly counterintuitive.
Has anyone developed a pro-life analysis of this issue?