Return of the Chimera Ban

I’ve spent some time chuckling over George W. Bush’s decision to take time out during his 2006 state of the union address to call for a ban on human-animal hybrids. Turns out, though, that there’s some real legislative momentum behind this:

“What was once only science fiction is now becoming a reality, and we need to ensure that experimentation and subsequent ramifications do not outpace ethical discussion and societal decisions,” Brown said last year when he introduced similar legislation. “History does not look kindly on those who violate the dignity of the human person.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the only Democratic co-sponsor, has taken a similarly hardline stance against what she called “blending” of species.

Steve Benen points out that joking aside there’s some very legitimate, potentially life saving, scientific research that could be blocked by this ban. And I think it’s important to put this kind of thing in an international context. The United States is a world leader in scientific research, but that’s obviously something that will come to an end if people need to spend too much time worrying about Sam Brownback’s delicate moral sensibilities (recall: preventive war = good; stem cell research = murder) rather than worrying about their work.