Several news reports last week highlighted the ongoing debate about the new medical treatments available through the use of so-called stem cells. First, we hear a report from very respected scientists that a breakthrough has been achieved in using adult stem cells to treat juvenile diabetes. The next report has the Senate debating a new embryonic stem cell bill that would use federal dollars to fund this controversial treatment.
Is there a disconnect here? Or am I missing something? The news reports about successful treatment involve the use of stem cells derived from adults - bone marrow and placenta derivation. No treatment has been found in respect of embryos and the extraction of stem cells from embryos. Nevertheless, this certainly didn't stop the U.S. Senate from weighing in on federal funding for destroying embryos for research purposes.
What is this all about? Why don't our politicians focus on what is working? It is because they have a personal political and financial stake in putting their names on a bill that would declare open season on embryos. They are therefore able to go the interest groups that back this research and solicit their political contributions and grassroots political support.
This entire issue isn't about helping people overcome serious illnesses; it is about abortion. Abortion is a controversial topic and several interest groups for personal, political and financial reasons have a stake in winning the abortion battle. Planned Parenthood, which is all high and mighty about embryonic stem cell research, makes a fortune each year from hundreds of thousands abortions carried on in their clinics. Other interest groups depend on millions of dollars of contributions from women's rights organizations and others that want to lobby to keep abortion available.
What does medical research have to do with abortion? A lot. If the abortion forces can convince the American people that it is right and humane to destroy an embryo to do medical research and possibly cure horrible diseases, they can win the abortion debate. If conservative politicians like former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist cave in to the forces of abortion on demand and approve of embryonic testing, they can argue that abortion, which after all kills an embryo, can't be such a bad thing either.
That is why there is such a hue and cry about forcing the President to veto yet another bill to foster federal funding of killing embryos. It is not just about medical research because adult stem cell research is far and away more productive and likely to yield results. Adult stem cell research doesn't merit federal funding, however, because it is not controversial. Just about all pro-lifers believe adult stem cell research is fine and should proceed.
Someone needs to pull back the curtain on the Wizard on this one. Here's hoping the President does precisely that when he uses his little used veto pen on this one.