Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist made some fundamental mistakes in announcing his support of federal funding for stem cell research.
One was rhetorical. In a July 29 Senate speech, Frist said, "We should federally fund research only on embryonic stem cells derived from blastocysts leftover from fertility therapy, which will not be implanted or adopted but instead are otherwise destined by the parents with absolute certainty to be discarded and destroyed." (italics mine)
According to dictionary.com, a "parent" is "One who begets, gives birth to, or nurtures and raises a child; a father or mother." One cannot be a parent unless that thing a parent has begotten is a child to which the parent is a father or mother.
Another important factor concerning Senator Frist's position is the company he is keeping. Following his speech, a number of senators praised him. The ones I saw on TV mostly favor abortion, at least in some circumstances, if not on demand. When you see praise from the likes of Senators Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, and Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat (and The New York Times, which editorially praised Frist, but said he didn't go far enough), you can properly conclude this is not just about stem cell research. It is about the value of human life, where it comes from and who gets to decide.
Many backing embryonic stem cell research argue that a fertilized egg cannot be considered even partially human until it is implanted in a woman's uterus. But these same people oppose any restrictions on partial birth abortion, so their argument is morally inconsistent. They would not protect the unborn at any stage of development.
The science on this is even less certain than global warming. Scientists are always eager for more research money and may have allowed their quest for dollars to obscure their better judgment.
As Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke told The Washington Post last year, "People need a fairy tale. Maybe that's unfair, but they need a story line that's relatively simple to understand."
McKay was explaining why scientists have allowed society to believe wrongly that stem cells are the magic bullet for curing all sorts of diseases, from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's. Are scientists willing to allow the public to believe a lie and to destroy what few remaining protections exist for human life?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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