During the election for the office of president that pitted Jimmy Carter against Ronald Reagan, there was a famous utterance from "The Great Communicator" – "There he goes again…" said Ronald Reagan.
Yesterday, President Bush used his veto power for a second time on this issue, and only the third in his presidency (the first stem cell veto was in 2006) to approve a stem cell measure that would have allowed for broader stem cell research than is currently available. He said something to the effect that it was a moral imperative and that tax dollars should not be used to destroy human embryonic life. This ignores the fact that we already are allowing stem cell research for some existing lines. Even former First Lady Nancy Reagan has supported the research.
I wrote a posting after his earlier veto of a stem cell proposal that he, in fact, is ceding the competitive edge in this aspect of biotechnology to other countries in this important area of research.
The stem cells sought are those that are not from embryos that will ever see life. In fact, many will eventually be destroyed, their potentially life-saving cures destroyed with them. There is no deprivation of future life from stem cell research, only deprivation of life from those who would have potentially gained a cure or an effective treatment for a life-debilitating disease.
Actually, the real moral question that might be explored is – why do we have so many embryos that will never see life? That would be the real question – not whether once we have them, we should explore a cure. But that would require thought – what we get instead is dogma.
One is forced to wonder whether if we could derive a weapon from such research, would the Administration be of a different heart? That would be for taking life, not saving it. But that is hypothetical and I leave it to you to imagine the answer.
Still, I’m left with the conviction that the millions of desperately ill people suffering from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and a host of autoimmune disorders don’t deserve thought and science over misguided dogma.
Unfortunately, there is not the political will in Congress to override this veto. Because, there he goes again.