This one’s been going on for a long time, but it has been brought to a head by President Bush’s first veto. But even handling this weighty issue that potentially affects the lives of millions of Americans who are and who will become afflicted with diseases this type of research may have the ability to alleviate, he wasn't above playing politics from the bully pulpit.
Bush tried to put a face on his position, too. Eighteen families who had adopted unused frozen embryos were in the East Room as Bush made his case in a 15-minute speech that came 40 minutes after the veto. On stage behind the president and in the audience were two dozen children, squirming in their Sunday best, born from those leftover embryos.But it isn't like we didn't know this was coming, as all the Presidents men have said as much in the past month.
"These boys and girls are not spare parts," Bush said. "They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research."
Rove told us all that Bush would veto the bill, and the master of politicizing the most sensitive of issues for political gain told us exactly how the veto would go down:
"We were all an embryo at one point, and we ought to as a society be very careful about being callous about the wanton destruction of embryos, of life."Tony Snow echoed this sentiment and spin:
"The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."Even White House staffers got into the game, saying,
The bill would compel all American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos for the derivation of stem cells, overturning the president's policy that funds research without promoting such ongoing destruction," it said. Bush says the practice forces a choice between science and ethics.
Soon to be former Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), ardent Bush supporter and rated the most partisan member of Congress, spoke at length on his blog about "clarifying" why he supported the President’s decision.
This debate is about FEDERAL FUNDING for embryonic research.So I guess he'd prefer to dance with the devil he knows. To him, this is part of ‘America’s Values Agenda.’ I was always under the impression that American values were about government funding for research to cure disease. We give the pharmacuetical corporations untold millions for just that purpose.
After all, there is no ban on this research–the question is on which type of research we focus our limited federal research dollars on.
The government should NOT be in the business of destroying embryos for lab experiments. Especially when we know that adult stem cell research works.
But this debate gives us a more defined look at where this useless culture war has taken us. If it is against 'right to life' politics to create human embryos that will later be destroyed in the in vitro fertilization process, much less once those embryos are abandoned by their donors and the fertilization clinics, then why do we allow such clinics to operate legally at all? From Slate:
In short, if embryos are human beings with full human rights, fertility clinics are death camps—with a side order of cold-blooded eugenics. No one who truly believes in the humanity of embryos could possibly think otherwise.Why don't 'right to life' politicians equally target such clinics? Because of politics, that's why.
I don't like it. I respect the real right to life community for their beliefs - many of them run on a similar moral path to mine, but diverge on matters of legality and policy. Those issues can be hashed out only through honest public discourse. But the kind of political grandstanding we're seeing here is not really a debate to the people who are having it. It is a game.