This week's debate over federal funding for stem cell research leads to one clear conclusion: the so-called pro-life movement is inaptly named. I'm calling to rename it, rather than let it "live on" hypocritically. Here are some suggestions: How about the "pro-zygote" movement or the "pro-embryonic life" movement? Don't like those? What about, "pro-pre-life but anti-adult-life" or "pro-pre-life but anti-already-born-life" movement?
Long ago, Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts said, "The conservative interest in life begins at conception and ends at birth." Actually, he was giving the pro-lifers about 8 1/2 more months credit than they deserve.
This includes the head of the GOP now occupying the White House."The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.
Actually, it's a misstatement to call frozen embryos "living." They're frozen. They're "pre-living" perhaps. But absent massive scientific intervention, they're about as alive as whatever's in your freezer.
Breathing, living, fully formed, people with spinal cord injury, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, and all manner of serious, debilitating conditions are being denied access to treatments, even cures, by the so-called, self-described pro-life movement. It's time to change the moniker.
The Associated Press quoted paraplegic politician Brooke Ellison as saying, "Not since the advent of antibiotics has there been so much promise on the medical horizon...Legislators who will let this unjust veto stand have turned their backs on anyone with cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or spinal-cord injury. The cure for each of these ailments lies in stem cell research." She's an author turned politician whose life was made into a 2004 TV movie. She's now running for the New York state Senate.
No matter. God (or somebody impersonating God) has told pro-lifers that it's murder to mess with a zygote (or embryo). Therefore, we all must live (no pun intended) with the consequences. There are some hopeful signs stemming from this debate. New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who has supported the president on stem cell research in the past, switched sides in this week's vote. The Concord Monitor quoted Gregg's statement as follows, "The leading doctors and researchers in the country have justified the need for embryonic stem cell research, and we should continue to rely on their expertise in allowing for additional lines under strict ethical controls."
Rep. Charlie Bass, a New Hampshire Republican, referring to adults with disease or injury that could be cured through stem cell research, said, "I think that their lives, the quality of their lives, is more important than the quality of life of a 9 or 12 cell zygote."