Stem Cell Debate Heating Up Again

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would allow for the use of embryos left over from fertility treatments in stem cell research. This bill currently has enough support in the Senate to pass leaving only the President to decide whether to sign it into law or veto it, something he has not done once in his presidency. In an effort to avoid the possibility of a veto and break up the current support for the existing bill in the Senate a few Republicans, including Bill Frist, have decided to draft an alternate bill that would call for the use of new, unproven ways of obtaining stem cells that stop short of destroying embryos.

It would seem that Frist, pressured by his evangelical backers, is missing the point. The embryos left over from fertility treatments are currently either frozen for further use or destroyed. The current bill would call for the use of those embryos that are slated to be destroyed anyway, basically avoiding the useless waste of life that the right seems hell bent on preventing. Unfortunately they can not seem to see this for what it is, a win-win for both science and life. Sick people the world over will have the opportunity to benefit from one of the most promising medical breakthroughs in our time and everyone can feel good about the fact that no life has gone to waste in the process.

Unfortunately this issue has the potential to be the next Terry Schiavo fiasco, where one side uses a hard line ideological stance to whip it’s constituency into a blind frenzy that has no basis in fact. I for one believe that this should not be politicized for it offers such promise for mankind. Just imagine, instead of destroying those embryos they are used to cure cancer, Parkinson’s, AIDS or any number of horrible diseases. What better way to honor and respect life than that?

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