We are not—yet—at the point that society will permit open harvesting and experimentation on cognitively devastated people, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get there. The slippery slope undermining human exceptionalism—the intrinsic value of human life simply and merely because it is human—is already slip-sliding away. Popular majorities support using nascent human life as corn crops in embryonic stem cell research, if the embryos were “leftovers” and going to be thrown out anyway.
But scientists have already moved beyond that early limitation. Many are now actively researching human cloning toward the end of manufacturing embryos for use and destruction in research. And it won’t stop there if current trends continue. We already see early advocacy for “fetal farming,” that is, gestating fetuses for use in organ transplantation and medical experimentation.