Friday, June 22, 2007

Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Research Legislation

Michael A. Fletcher reports for the Washington Post:

President Bush yesterday vetoed legislation to expand federally funded embryonic stem cell research, saying that scientific advances now allow researchers to pursue the potentially lifesaving work without destroying human embryos.

Bush followed his veto -- his third since becoming president -- with an executive order aimed at encouraging federal agencies to support research that offers the promise of creating medically useful stem cells without destroying human embryos....

The veto came under attack from those who say the president is withholding critical support for the most promising forms of stem cell research to appease conservative Christians and other supporters who equate human embryos with human lives

Bioethics, President/Executive Branch, Stem Cell Research | Permalink

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"Hypocrisy" rhymes with "Democracy." Still, someone should explain to the President that they mean different things. When George Bush "exercises hypocrisy" he is not embodying the spirit of America.

Take, for instance, his position on stem cells. Some might argue that the embryos from which stem cells are extracted are living, innocent children. Although this is an assertion of limited scientific validity, it is a legitimate expression of faith. Assuming it to be true, he argues that extracting stem cells is akin to murder and his government will not condone the murder of innocent children. The difficulty I have with this argument is that the government of George Bush brazenly and wantonly murders children every day. Thousands of innocent children have been maimed and killed in Iraq in a war of George Bush's own choosing. The War in Iraq was neither forced upon him, nor was it (as we now clearly know) connected in any meaningful way to the attacks of September 11th. Yet he freely chooses to pursue a war in which, inevitably, the lives of thousands of children (including the “unborn”) are willingly sacrificed. This can only mean that President Bush, in fact, is not generally opposed to the murder of innocents; he regularly condones such murder when it conforms to his ultimate political goals. In the case of embryonic stem cells, we are allowing a highly unqualified individual set scientific priorities many years into the future based upon a lie.

Lest you think that such is unique, let me recall the story of another man who led his country into scientific absurdity a mere half century ago. Like George Bush he was also a strong believer in "executive authority" and he shared George Bush’s absolute belief in the rightness of his causes and opinions (one possible result of a seminary education). Also like George Bush he brooked no opposition to his opinions. The man in question was Joseph Stalin. When he decided that the new science of genetics was antithetical to his belief in social engineering, he outlawed it and retarded his country's biology and medicine many decades.

My point is that the next time the President chooses to express his moral indignation over the slaughter of innocents wreaked by stem cell research, we should recall that this is a demonstration of the crudest form of hypocrisy and one that may have direct, dire and unforeseeable consequences on all of our lives.

Posted by: Marc | Jun 22, 2007 5:54:04 AM

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