Friday, July 29, 2005

Frist steps in it 

Frist blew any '08 chances out the window with his declaration today supporting embryonic stem cell research, and dealt permanent damage to the pro0life movement. Two mistakes here: (1) Frist, a doctor, gets his science wrong, at least partially. Virtually all promising cures, to date, have come from adult stem cells and the like, and embryonic stem cell possibilities are vastly exaggerated . Bone marrow stem cell transplants have been in use for decades, in fact. Despite these advances, however, proponents continue to clamor for embryonic stem cell research, a strange position indeed.
(From the Donald R. May article)
With all this scientific success and with more than 15,000 patients benefiting from SCR each year, why are some people apoplectic? The answer is both simple and perplexing. The scientific breakthroughs and the medical therapies have all come from adult stem cells and none as yet have come from embryonic stem cells. Rather than welcoming the results and pursuing support for what works, there are paradoxically increasing demands for the recognition and funding of embryonic SCR.

A dangerous combination of political and social ideology is determined to make embryonic SCR succeed. The problem is an apparent obsession with destroying human life to provide medical therapies. Looking from the outside, one might imagine that embryonic SCR supporters are advocating a pagan ritual of human sacrifice to treat disease?

See also this fascinating article from Scripps on the subject of another adult cell alternative, called reversine, that has gone virtually unreported in the mainstream media:
Stem cell therapy would be most effective if you could use your own stem cells, since using one's own cells would avoid potential complications from immune rejection of foreign cells... A third approach [which may be developed from Ding's research] is to use one's own specialized cells and dedifferentiate them.

And (2), Frist has managed to alienate himself from a large portion of would be 2008 supporters: pro-life Americans. The move seemed to have the desired effect on Democrats, where it functioned as an attempt to garner support as a "moderate." Frist, predictably, garnered lavish support from Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid. Ted Kennedy made lofty references to the hypocratic oath, seeming to indicate that the realm of ethics does not encompass the unborn, desired or not, or the drowning mistress for that matter. But how will this play out with a Christian base so enthused by the issues of life and death? Not well, in my opinion. Anyone, and Frist in particular, must recognize the hypocrisy inherent in supporting embryonic stem cell research, and condemning abortion. Pro-life groups are already speaking out:
The Christian Defense Coalition lambasted Frist's change of position.

"Senator Frist should not expect support and endorsement from the pro-life community if he votes for embryonic research funding," it said.

If Frist truly valued the lives and well beings of so many innocent people, which he probably does, and wanted to help all human life, he would recognize the incredible scientific possibilities already available through ethical, adult stem cell research. Such moral equivocation on subjects of abortion and stem cell research will ultimately collapse. What becomes of the unborn fetus that needs urgent stem cell transplants to combat a prenatal disorder? Protecting life means protecting all life, senator, even at the cost of Ted Kennedy's admiration. Shame on you for misleading the American people to the contrary.

I agree! It drives me nuts when I see a republican acting contrary to logic, just to cozy up to some high-profile democrat, or just to earn accolades from the media
Great analysis and well presented.
Very true.
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