Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Our fundamentalist president

There is a picture of President Bush on the front page of the New York Times today kissing a baby. The carefully staged photo-op was done to support Bush’s plan to veto bi-partisan legislation that would lift some restrictions on scientific research into embryonic stem cells. The baby in the picture is one that came from a donated embryo left over from a fertility clinic.
I think it is wonderful that some family was able to have a baby using a donated embryo. But we also need to consider that there are far more of these excess embryos left over from fertility treatments than can be used and about 90 percent of them are discarded on a routine basis.

The bill that Bush is threatening to veto would allow scientists to study these embryos that are going to be discarded anyway in hopes of finding cures for certain diseases. Why is this such a problem for religious fundamentalists? You have something sitting in a petri dish that could possibly be used to save countless lives and improve the quality of life for many more people and yet we are just going to continue to toss them into the trash bin because a small group of fundamentalists - including our president - believe as GOP Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that "an embryo is a person.” That’s like saying an acorn is a tree. If you sweep up a bunch of acorns off your driveway and throw them in the trash, is that the equivalent of going out with a chainsaw and chopping down several acres of Live Oak trees?

So let’s be perfectly clear here. While President Bush may seem like he cares about “life” because he is kissing that baby, the truth is that he cares more about the contents of a petri dish than about the millions of people out there suffering from debilitating diseases and genetic conditions. Notice how they were careful not to show Bush standing next to any children suffering from multiple sclerosis or spinal bifida.

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