Evolution may favor religious diversity, but the tail does not wag the fish.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Sen. Frist To Modify Bush Position Over Stem Cells

Comment by Jay Cuasay

'I am pro-life,' Mr. Frist says in the speech, arguing that he can reconcile his support for the science with his own Christian faith. 'I believe human life begins at conception.'
But at the same time, he says, 'I also believe that embryonic stem cell research should be encouraged and supported.'

Sen. Frist's proposal seeks to modify Pres. Bush's original compromise that limited stem cell research to the already existing lines "where the life or death decision has already been made." There were less stem cell lines than originally thought and the viability of these lines for future research was thought to be weakened by the low number.

Extending that same permissibility of logic, Sen. Frist wants future research to encompass additional cell lines, typically from fertility clinic frozen embryos, where adult donors and the clinics had already similarly "made the life or death decision" to have such embryos destroyed. Sen. Frist also supports the less controversial adult stem cell research and other unproven methods of research that do not destroy human embryos.

While I follow Sen. Frist's logic in asking for a modification in the original bill and see where it might cause political friction, I hardly see here a nuanced battle or compromise between faith and reason. I see instead an acceptance and transfer of "life and death" powers to those entrusted with embryo fertilization. This does not coincide with Sen. Frist's simple invocation of "Life begins at conception" and instead speaks about the tremendous power we hold to place human life under our purview to extract what research and medical advances we can.

It is Frankenstein in reverse. And it is not an easy issue. See my Embryonic Stem Cell Research post on C I A for additional commentary. But in brief, such issues place American values of self determination on equal footing as issues of the origins (or as I've observed) at least the end contribution and meaning to life.


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