WASHINGTON – The University of Chicago professor President Bush picked to head his council on bioethics is an opponent of human cloning who shares Bush's concern that research on embryonic stem cells needs rigid controls.
Dr. Leon Kass, a conservative biomedical ethicist, will lead other ethicists, scientists, doctors, lawyers and theologians on the panel that will monitor medical research on embryonic stem cells and recommend guidelines and regulations.
"The goal is to develop at the highest level the deepest and most comprehensive understanding of the issues, and we are striving for wisdom, not just cleverness," Kass said in Friday's Chicago Tribune.
Bush announced the council Thursday night as part of his decision to support federal funding for limited medical research on stem cells. Kass was one of Bush's main consultants while trying to decide the issue.
Kass declined to say what he thought of Bush's decision but praised the president's deliberation on the subject.
"I think the president showed that he understands that this is more complicated than a simple either-or," Kass said.
Kass, 62, is a founding fellow of The Hastings Center, and a past member of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, the Federation of American Scientists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He has published numerous essays and articles on biomedical ethics, social thought and science and human affairs. His essays include "What price the perfect baby?" and "Babies by means of in vitro fertilization: Unethical experiments on the unborn?"
He wrote the book "Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs" and co-authored "The Ethics of Human Cloning."
Kass holds a bachelor's degree and medical degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University.