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July 29, 2005

Frist Splits With Bush On Stem Cells

And a lot of conservatives are pissed.

Let me just say as a blue-state conservative I really don't get this whole deal, and I think it's one of the more objectionable parts of the current conservative platform.

These embryos -- correct me if I'm wrong -- are slated to be destroyed anyway, right? They won't be kept in cold storage forever. Or else the stem cells come from aborted fetuses which are dead already, right?

So-- ignoring the somewhat trivial fact that one in 100,000 might become a "snowflake baby" -- what is the problem here? I realize that symbolism has some value, but isn't this elevating symbolism over an awful lot of important stuff?

I don't buy the slippery-slope argument, as I almost never do. If the fear is that using embryos slated to be destroyed anyway will encourage the creation of more embryos-- well, just make that illegal. If the fear is that this will encourage women to get pregnant and then have abortions just to sell the stem-cell-rich fetus -- well, that's just not going to happen, with such a surplus of free aborted fetuses on the market, but let's assume the ridiculous and say it is: then make abortion-for-selling-the-dead-fetus illegal.

I don't see how on earth it's necessary to protect against these rather unlikely possibilities by denying federal funding for medical experiments on stem-cells coming from embryos or fetuses which are already dead, or will be soon enough.

An Endorsement of Euthanasia/Abortion/The Taking of Human Life: This is just nonsense. If a man is murdered, do we reject using his organs to help someone who needs them, just because his life was taken illegally?

Of course we don't. We use those organs (assuming he's an organ donor) and no one takes that as an enorsement of murder, or that society is somehow benefitting from murder.

Young organs are healthy organs, so I'm guessing most (or at least many) transplanted organs come from victims of sudden violent death. The fact that we use the organs of the dead to help the living is hardly some sort of expression of our society's approval of deadly car crashes.

Symbolism And Tenuous Indirect Effects: When the left argues against making it murder to kill the fetus of a pregnant woman while attacking her, we quite rightly laugh at them for their extremism, as they're elevating the very tenuous and indirect statement that may make about life or abortion over the common-sense reality that if a woman has a baby in her womb, and you kill it, you're a murderer and should be punished as such.

Isn't the right doing the opposite here? Yes, I suppose this could "erode" our respect for life, in a very indirect and slight manner. But if you approve of that sort of thinking, then you have to admit that, coming from a pro-choice point of view, NARAL has a point-- making it murder to kill a fetus "erodes" our commitment to reproductive choices and blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda.

In both cases I think those most animated about these issues are making a big deal over a trivial issue in order to advance/protect the issue they really care about. And in both cases, the policy fight about this trivial issue chosen to serve as a tripwire for the protection of the other more important issue seems kind of crazy, and cruel, to those of us (and we're many) who don't really care too much about "symbolism" or "erosions" or very attenuated indirect effects.

It sounds crazy and cruel to not charge a man with murder after he's killed a pregnant woman's baby, whatever that may say indirectly about abortion.

And it sounds equally crazy and cruel to not experiment with a promising medical technology, which hurts no fetuses (they're already dead) and "kills" embryos slated to be "killed" anyway, just because that, too, indirectly says something about abortion and issues of life generally.

Both of these do say something about the general issue of life. Trouble is, neither says nearly enough about the issue to justify the proposed policy.

Maverick Didn't Come Here To Lose: Fat Kid's annoyed that now the liberal MSM will fall in love with "maverick" Frist, and yeah, that's annoying. And tediously predictable.

We all know the MSM is very hot for funding stem-cell research... partly just because they know conservatives are against it.

They're annoying kneejerkedly-liberal partisan-hack nincompoops.

That said, I still don't get why we can't use dead things to help living people.


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posted by Ace at 12:53 PM

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