We know he’s stupid. We know he’s ignorant. We know he’s belligerent. And we know he doesn’t listen to reason.
Still, that doesn’t make it any less annoying when President Bush says he’s going to veto a new bill proposing to relax restrictions on stem cell research… a bill that has already been passed by the f’ing senate 63 to 34 votes, and which (in it’s Congressional form) passed in the house by 253 to 174 votes.
But hey, whatever, those are just democratically elected government bodies – it’s not like they, you know, represent the will of the American people or anything.
Oh wait a minute. Yes, yes they do: polls indicate as many as 70 per cent of Americans support stem cell research.
Six years ago Bush decided to limit stem cell research in America to “existing cell lines”, which basically meant that American scientists had to work with the stem cell cultures that were already in existence (70 in total), and that no more embryos could be “destroyed” in order to do research. He promoted this law as a wonderful “compromise” that would allow scientific progress to continue without “killing” any more precious embryos.
Well, six years later, those 70 cell lines have fallen to 20, and experts say that just doesn’t cut it – there isn’t enough genetic diversity in those lines to do meaningful research. Research that could alleviate the suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s diabetes – the list goes on and on. Just two weeks ago scientists announced that they grew a new heart valve with stem cells – a world first.
But Bush and co. would rather spare the “lives” of microscopic blobs of cells rather than improve the lives of the living.
But wait a minute, you might be wondering: aren’t the embryos that are used in stem cell research going to be thrown away anyways? Aren’t they the “spare” embryos created for couples undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment, which aren’t used and are instead stored or disposed of? What’s wrong with using those? It’s not like they’re cloning human embryos for mass harvest (which is what many people fear may happen).
Well, if you think the life of an unborn blob of cells is sacred and should be preserved at all costs, you’ll be happy to know that there is another fate available to the world’s frozen spare embryos: embryo adoption.
Concerned couples can adopt spare embryos and raise the babies themselves. They are fondly known as “snowflake children,” because each is “frozen and unique” (or, as Jon Stewart puts it, “so named because no two are alike, and they’re all white”).
Thank goodness there is a way to protect “our society’s most vulnerable members,” as Bush describes them. How convenient that they stop being vulnerable once they’re out of the womb – that way you don’t have to worry about paying for their health care or education or anything.