WASHINGTON, July 29, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, has broken with President Bush by giving his support to a bill that proposes to expand federal funding for unethical embryonic stem cell research. The Bill, strongly opposed by conservative lawmakers, pro-life family groups and the White House is sponsored by pro-abortion Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter.
AScribe Newswire quotes Michael Munger, an expert in congressional-presidential relations, stating, “The Bush administration will consider this a betrayal.”
Frist, who supported legislative attempts to save the life of Terri Schiavo, appears to have lost the thread on the use of embryonic human beings as fodder for medical experiments. The Tennessee Senator justified his flip-flop by stating on the floor of the Senate today, “It’s not just a matter of faith, it’s a matter of science.”
Senator Frist may be unaware that thus far the hope of embryo research producing any cures whatever is daily growing more remote as ethical adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell research continues to far outstrip it in actual results.
The Senator from Tennessee, a heart-lung transplant surgeon, said as recently as a month ago that he did not support public funding of embryo research “at this juncture.” He announced his turn-around this morning in a lengthy Senate speech saying, “We should expand federal funding and the accompanying (National Institutes of Health) oversight and current guidelines governing stem-cell research, carefully and thoughtfully staying within ethical bounds.”
Frist’s comment about “ethics,” however, is nonsensical if the humanity of the human embryo is understood. If he is referring to the “ethical bounds” set by the so-called bioethicists who advise governments around the world on crafting public policy on embryo research, he is making a circular argument. Bioethicists are in complete agreement that an embryo is not a human person deserving of any legal protection whatever. The strongest ethical objection that is possible to embryo research is one that totally precludes using them for experimental research.
Understanding this, the Bush administration limited public funding for embryo research to those stem cell lines already created from embryos. Since that funding restriction, the biotechnology lobby has been putting immense pressure on the government to reverse its policy.
The proposed bill has passed the House and now stands a better chance in the Senate after Frist’s endorsement. White House spokesman Scott McClellan reiterated the President’s stand against further funding for embryo research after Frist made his speech.
The turn-around is surprising to pro-life observers moreover, since Frist, as recently as last October, slammed Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards for his support of embryo research. Frist said in October 2004, in an apparent reference to the fact that even stem cell researchers have admitted that embryo research is failing to offer progress on finding cures, “It is cruel to people who have disabilities and chronic diseases, and, on top of that, it’s dishonest.”
“Stem cell research is promising,” Frist said then. “The president vigorously promotes adult and embryonic stem cell research, but he does it with an ethical and moral framework.”
Significantly, after Frist’s speech, stock prices for stem cell research companies rose sharply with that of leading company, StemCells Inc., increasing nearly 21%. Embryonic stem cell research is seen to be a potentially far more lucrative source of financial profit for researchers and drug companies than adult stem cell research which does not involve selling stem cells and does not require subsequent life-time use of anti-rejection drugs.
Pro-life groups were quick to respond. “Sen. Frist cannot have it both ways. He cannot be pro-life and pro-embryonic stem cell funding. Nor can he turn around and expect widespread endorsement from the pro-life community if he should decide to run,” said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition.
See related LifeSiteNews.com report:
MONEY IS MOTIVE FOR EMBRYONIC RATHER THAN ADULT STEM CELL RESEARCH
Specter Backpedaling for His Political Life Against Tidal Wave of Opposition