Take a look at this eight-cell human embryo. Does it look like a person? Would using it for stem cell research, rather than destroying it, be murder? President Bush believes so. That’s why he’s going to veto the stem cell legislation passed by Congress.
Today White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked by a reporter, “Can you remind us why the President believes that it is more appropriate for stem cells to be thrown away than to be used in this case for medical research?” Snow’s answer:
What the President has said is that he doesn’t want human life destroyed…The President believes strongly that for the purpose of research it is inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He is one of them.
That’s insane. If this is true, why aren’t the staff of in vitro fertilization clinics being prosecuted? Hundreds of thousands of excess embryos are in frozen storage at these clinics. Discarding them is common. Using the embryos for stem cell research could result in countless actual human lives being saved. To me, that’s pro-life.
And also to Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, whom I rarely agree with. But on this issue Sen. Smith and I see eye to eye. Here’s what Smith had to say on the floor of the Senate today:
I believe it would be a tremendous loss to science and to all humanity if we choose to hold back the key to unlocking mysteries that have long mystified scientists and physicians. That is why it is so important that my colleagues cast a vote in favor of HR 810, a very pro-life vote.
…After years of reflecting on this issue, it has become increasingly clear to me that being pro-life means protecting both the sanctity and the quality of life. By allowing research on stem cell lines derived from unused IVF [in vitro fertilization] embryos, we could forge a path that will one day lead to cures for some of mankind’s most dreadful medical maladies.
…I do not believe that religion and science are in conflict on this issue. I believe that one of the great gifts of the United States, the best example of the United States to the world, is our pluralism—religious pluralism. It is something that we see in absence, tragically, in too many places of the world
You see blood running in the gutters of the Middle East as we speak, because of sectarian views which are held to the point of murder. We therefore do not serve the public well by taking the narrowest theological positions and trying to impose them on public policy. We should be open enough to include other considerations of ethical ideas, of scriptural interpretations, and scientific hope.
…I believe this is an important debate, and if it’s vetoed, another election will occur. Another chapter of American democracy will be opened. And ultimately the will of the American people will be reflected in our policy. I believe that the sooner, the better.
Absolutely. Come November voters are going to remember which party favored saving human lives, and which party favored saving the bizarre theological speculations of right-wing Christian fundamentalists.