Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem Cells

You know, I've never written about this issue before. I guess there's a first for everything.

President Bush finally got out his veto pen today. After five years in office and saying yes to everything Congress sent to his desk, he decided to say "no" to a bill that would have allowed more research on embryonic stem cells.

While the President has made his far right base happy, you have to wonder what the implications will be for congressional Republicans this fall. With a majority of Americans approving stem cell research, and Americans already in a bad mood towards the Republican leadership, methinks the public will want to punish the President for his veto and sacrifice a few GOP legislators.

For me, this cuts both ways....sort of. You see, just this past week, I found out that my 80-something Aunt Nora was diagnosed with Alzhiemer's. So, this research might prove helpful to her and millions of others who are struggling with this disease. I am upset at those who don't say anything about the unused embryos until they might be considered for stem cell research. If they are so important, why don't they protest these embryos being stored and even thrown out after a time?

On the other side, I feel uncomfortable with those who see embryos as just a bunch of cells. Well, yes they are cells, but an embryo is potential life and should at least be treated with respect. Are they the moral equivalent of human being? No. If I have to choose between my Aunt Nora and an embryo, I would have to choose my aunt. This shouldn't mean that we treat the embryo as something of little value. Because of its potential, there has to be a certain amount of respect in how we use it. The long and the short of is, that an embryo is more than a toenail, but it ain't Aunt Nora either. In our rush to pursue this technology, we have to be careful that embryos don't become a commodity. I think the scientific community has done that and I also think that's why we need federal funding and oversight-to make sure that embryos aren't treated as something to be bought and sold.

Time will tell how the President and the Republican party will pay for today's veto. What I do wonder is what the President would say to my Aunt Nora and her children.

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