Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Protect or Provide

Christopher O. Tollefsen comments at Public Discourse on The One's repealing "the restrictions set by President Bush on the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research" and signalling "his intention to repeal a rule promulgated in the last days of the Bush administration that codified previous law ensuring that no health care providers at institutions receiving federal funds should be discriminated against for refusing to participate in abortion or sterilization procedures," by playing on the "tension between the role of the state as a protector of persons and the role of the state as a provider of benefits."
The state should exist primarily in the capacity of a protector of persons—of their lives, clearly, and also of their liberty to shape their lives as selves through time. The decisions regarding embryo-destructive research and the repeal or revision of health care provider conscience clauses seriously jeopardize the present administration’s claims to be fulfilling this fundamental task. And failure in this domain, much more than failure in the provision of some limited set of benefits, constitutes a terrible injustice against the persons for whose sake the state exists in the first place.

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