President Bush vetoed the current bill put before him by congress that would lift some of the restrictions on the ability of research groups to compete for federal funding to conduct human embryonic stem cell experiments. That is all that happened. Here are a couple of more facts. The federal government currently awards taxpayer money for the purpose of experimenting with embryonic stem cells from humans. Many states including but not limited to California, Connecticut and Maryland also award taxpayer money for the same purpose. Knowing those facts to be true please explain the following statement by New Jersey Assemblyman Neil Cohen:
"We realize that sick and injured New Jersey residents cannot afford to wait and suffer because of failed presidential leadership on this issue," said Assemblyman Neil Cohen, D-Union, who has long pushed state-funded stem cell research.
New Jersey is in the process of borrowing $450,000,000.00 to invest in stem cell research over the next ten years. The funds will go to research in both adult and embryonic stem cell lines. As is the norm these days, the rhetoric is flat misleading. New Jersey has been honest in admitting that this is not just altruistic borrowing and that they hope to draw in business and ultimately profit the state from this investment. That is what makes this nonsense from Cohen all the more distasteful.
JivinJehoshaphat has a great post highlighting some Hillary quotes on ESCR. He comments that it is amazing how ignorant people continue to be about the facts of stem cell research. Wesley Smith recently commented on how impressive the scientific community has been in finding alternatives to embryo destructive research to free themselves from the restrictions of the Bush administration. All of this makes the party line from the pro-embryonic research camp so difficult to comprehend. If pluripotent cells can be acquired without destroying embryonic human beings, what possible motivation could anyone have for wanting to destroy human beings? If researchers continue to demonstrate that they are creatively addressing the ethical restrictions and yielding promising results, what possible reason could we have to push headlong and recklessly into one area of research over another in a field that is entirely based on the promise of possible future benefits?
I talked to a scientist that told me that Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s would be the last to benefit from this research because they are breakdowns that occur over multiple systems. They are not isolated to the eye for example. He told me that the “cures” are possibly decades away. The language of many supporters of embryonic stem cell research would have us believe that the cures themselves are ready to be implemented and the only thing that is lacking is the Presidential OK to fund them.
I have no problem with people articulating arguments that disagree with the pro-life position, but let us be clear. When I say that traditional human embryonic stem cell research destroys the embryos used as a source for the stem cells I am making a statement of incontrovertible fact. When I claim that the human embryo being destroyed is a whole, distinct, living human being with natural rights including the right to not be destroyed for research purposes I am making a truth claim about the nature of the unborn. When I say that unecessarily killing innocent life to benefit others is morally reprehensible I am making a moral claim. When proponents of embryonic stem cell research say there is a ban on this research, that people will be healed of terrible diseases if Bush would pass the legislation, and that there are no alternative methods of producing beneficial stem cells to treat people they are either lying or grossly uninformed.