In a debate that was often heated, emotional, and woefully misinformed, the House of Representatives voted today to extend federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. As this will likely also pass the Senate, only a veto from President Bush stands in the way of your tax dollars and mine being used for the destruction of human beings in the name of research. I hope the president has plenty of ink for what’s ahead.
I got to hear some of the debate via C-SPAN, and shockingly evident were the typical verbal shenanigans that surround the embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) debate . For example, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) reamrked that cloning was not involved with ESCR, rather something called somatic cell nuclear transfer, which was “another way of looking at the cells.” Somatic cell nuclear transfer is, of course, a five-dollar word for — you guessed it — cloning.
Though Democrats were in the vast majority in passing the bill, they weren’t alone. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) exhibited one of the more common rationales for supporting ESCR. After touting his “nearly perfect” pro-life record, Rep. Barton went on to describe why he as a pro-lifer was for embryonic stem cell research. He quipped, “What’s more pro-life? Medical waste or medical hope?”
The argument that says it’s morally acceptable to destroy human life because it’s going to be destroyed anyway only works in a utilitarian ethical worldview. We’re all going to die anyway, Rep. Barton. It doesn’t make it morally acceptable to kill someone because he or she is going to die. Never — at any point from conception to the grave — is a human being “medical waste.”