Saturday, July 30, 2005

Dissension in the ranks

President Bush's stance on embryonic stem cell research has been contradictory and illogical from the start.

Early in his first term, Bush banned federal funding of research on stem cell lines created after Aug. 8, 2001. In a prime-time televised address, he said the allocation of public money for future lines would cross "a fundamental moral line by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos that have at least the potential for life."

If embryonic stem cell research is the immoral destruction of life, as Bush seemed to assert, then it should be immoral regardless of its funding source. But Bush hasn't pushed Congress to outlaw private embryonic research, which leads one to wonder how "fundamental" that moral line really is to him.

Most Americans want fewer restrictions on federal funding for the research, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Friday that he does, too. So what prompted Frist's decision to ignore social conservatives' outrage and support a bill that would allow publicly funded research on embryos that fertility clinics otherwise would discard after in vitro fertilization?

Was it a return to his original stance? Was it a former heart surgeon's effort to reclaim his mantle as a defender of medical research? Was it an attempt to get moderate voters to forget about his involvement with the Terri Schiavo case and the nuclear option before a possible 2008 presidential run?

In a word: Yes.


Blogger Walker said...

Always nice to find sensible Alabamians. Obviously I know there are sensible and wonderful people everywhere. I grew up in Georgia (suburban Atlanta) and moved to the Seattle area 25 years ago in part for the more liberal environment. Some people around here have such a jaded view of the South - it's kind of like the way a lot of Americans think about a truly foreign culture.

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy my article and the ensuing discussion on embryonic stem cell research from a couple of days ago.

10:53 AM  

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