Friday, July 29, 2005

Bad policy from a supposed Senate "ally"

Dissapointing news about Bill Frist, from

Frist Backs More Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Friday, July 29, 2005

WASHINGTON — Breaking with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) on Friday threw his support behind legislation to expand federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research so long as it stays "within ethical bounds."
"It's not just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science," Frist, R-Tenn., said on the floor of the Senate.
Frist's announcement of support for the House-passed legislation immediately dented his support among Christian conservatives but won praise from Democrats, as well as from former first lady Nancy Reagan, whose husband, the late former President Ronald Reagan, had Alzheimer's disease for years before his death.
"Embryonic stem cell research (search) has the potential to alleviate so much suffering," Nancy Reagan said. "Surely, by working together we can harness its life-giving potential."
Click to the video box to the right for a report by FOX News' Major Garrett.
Bush supports only limited federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and has argued that life should not be created for the purpose of being destroyed during research. Private funding on these cells, however, is not restricted by federal law.
Opponents of expanding research on embryos say there is not enough medical proof to show that embryonic cells may yield more medical miracles than adult stem cells. But proponents of expanding embryonic stem cell funding say the more research done on the widest variety of cells, the better the chances of finding potential cures for crippling diseases.

For the rest of this story:,2933,164029,00.html

If my readings of classical and medieval philosophy serve me well, these human embryos have a specific teleological end: to become humans. This, at least, is what St. Thomas Aquinas tells us about the issue. The Angelic Doctor did not have the benefit of modern science, since given what we know now (thanks to that great Benedictine Fr. Gregor Mendel and his experiments with genetics, and Watson and Crick's discovery of the double helix a hundred years later) we are certain that those embryos have all that is needed to qualify as fully human. They are not destined to become cows, or rats, or labrador retrievers. When they are implanted into a woman's uterus, they will be born as full human beings, "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." Unless someone can prove to me that there is an essential difference between an emryo that is two weeks old and one that is nine months old, these embryos are to be treated with all the dignity of a full human being. Senator Frist has "followed his conscience," and we must pause to wonder how corrupted that conscience has become by the deceitful language of the culture of death. Nancy Reagan "applauds" Senator Frist. Having myself experienced the death of two close relatives after years of suffering from the effects of cancer and a stroke, I sympathize with her. But given her courageous husband's defense of the sanctity of life in all its stages, we can be fairly sure what his position on fetal stem cell research would be. Would that other lawmakers were as courageous.

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