Thursday, July 20, 2006

I believe the children are our future, part 2

Watch the little girl behind President Bush near the end of the clip.

After bombing with the baby in Germany (see the post below), you'd think Bush would not allow children at his photo-ops. You can't "stage" a child, after all. Nor should you, in my opinion. Especially when it is a short logical leap to demonstrate the fallacy of the President's reasoning by vetoing the bill to expand embryonic stem cell research but parading around the "snowflake" children for a photo-op.

Ethical support of embryonic stem cell research is a "pro-life" position. When a couple receives treatment for invitro fertilization, and other fertility treatments, dozens, if not hundreds, of zygotes (i.e., embryos) are created, screened for the best possible candidates for implantation, and the rest are frozen, in case the first does not take. Invariably, by the time a couple conceives or gives up, there are still many, many of these frozen embryos left over. President Bush's attempt to demonstrate that these frozen zygotes are "alive" by marching through the White House a group of precocious children who were "adopted" as embryos from the supply left over from families who had completed their fertility treatments is an unconvincing argument that embryonic stem cell research is unethical. No where in his speech or in his rhetoric is the admission that, if these frozen zygotes are not "adopted" or appropriated for research, they will simply be discarded as "biological waste." If the President truly believes that these zygotes are alive, then he should logically be opposed to invitro fertilization and other fertility procedures that create these dozens or hundreds or (aggregately) thousands of frozen blastocysts that will never develop beyond a few cells.

Bush offers next-to-no reasoning for his support of the science that creates these cells in the first place, and his crafting of policy that throws the vast majority of them in the trash. Half to two-thirds of all fertilized eggs are flushed out of the uterus without implanting in the uterine wall. Perhaps Bush thinks discarding these cells is in line with this natural sort of "dying with dignity." But he has not said so explicitly, and to assume so is certainly reading too much into the President's logic, especially considering his constant references to the so-called "culture of life" and his desire to "save" these embryos through fetal adoption.

Many even in the pro-life movement believe that allowing researchers to use embryonic stem cells to find new cures and treatments to improve the quality and quantity of life assigns a purpose and dignity to these cells that otherwise would be discarded like last week's chinese take-out. The President doesn't see it that way. And in that regard, as in virtually every other regard of his administration, the President is wrong.

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