Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Not This Year

Polls show that 70% of the American public is in favor of embryonic stem cell research.I suspect that at least that many Americans know people that the promising research could help: people with diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries, and a host of other serious conditions. I'm one of them, although for me it is more directly personal. My father and my brother died of Alzheimer's, so I panic when I can't remember where I put my keys. I look at my nephews and niece and at their babies and my heart hurts. Yesterday was not a good day for me. I don't think today will be any better.

Yesterday the Senate passed a decent embryonic stem cell bill, but not with a veto proof majority. The roll call vote can be seen here. We were four votes shy of overcoming the promised veto. I suppose that really didn't matter because we were 50 votes shy in the House vote from late last year, but if the Senate had come though, I was hopeful that this election year might make it possible to bring pressure on enough Republicans in the House to accomplish the override.

The Emperor continues to say that he will veto the bill, and this is one of those rare times when I think he's telling the truth. It will be the first veto of his tenure. The Washington Post weighed in on the issue with one of its more bizarre editorials (comparing Mr. Bush to Thomas Jefferson in any way is, you must admit, pretty bizarre). Here are the concluding paragraphs of that editorial:

We understand that people can in good faith disagree on this question. But we don't understand the logic of Mr. Bush's position. If using discarded embryos to extract stem cells is murder, how can he permit it to proceed with private funding? If this is murder, isn't it also immoral to allow federal research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells, as the current administration policy permits, though they are the fruit of a homicidal act?

For years, society has allowed excess embryos to be deliberately created, and unused embryos to be discarded, by fertility clinics. The question before Mr. Bush is whether some of those days-old clusters of cells, rather than being discarded, could be used for research that has the potential to save untold numbers of lives and improve the quality of untold more. He offered in his first term what seemed like a reasonable compromise, but in practice his compromise has not worked. We hope he will consider compromise again.

What the editorialist is trying to do (it really isn't all that clear) is point out the faulty logic the President is using. Such an argument assumes that Mr. Bush is acting in good faith. I do not believe that is a sustainable assumption. If it were, there would have been no Iraq Invasion, there would have been fewer victims of Hurricane Katrina, and there would have been instant pressure brought to bear on Israel in the current Middle East crisis.

No, once again, this is about politics, about throwing some red meat to the Religious Reich in the hopes of getting them to the polls come November.

And so, I will continue to worry about my misplaced keys and the futures of my nephews and neice and their families.

There is this, however: that veto will ensure that I make it to the polls in November. Hopefully it has the same effect on the rest of the 70% who agree with me.

Maybe next year.

UPDATE: The Emperor followed through on his promise to veto the bill. StemPac has issued a call to continue the battle by faxing members of Congress urging them to override the veto. You can do so here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the same posturing C-i-C hadn't sent any number to the death chamber in TX during his tenure as the governator, it might make more plausible the sincerity of a stance against taking life.

from Ruth

4:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home