Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush's veto of the stem cell bill

As everyone knows, Bush's first veto ever was of H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, to authorize federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, on the ridiculous basis that this research involves killing "boys and girls."

As Scott Rosenberg points out at Salon:
Here is why Bush's position is a joke: Thousands and thousands of embryos are destroyed every year in fertility clinics. They are created in petri dishes as part of fertility treatments like IVF; then they are discarded. If Bush and his administration truly believe that destroying an embryo is a kind of murder, they shouldn't be wasting their time arguing about research funding: They should immediately shut down every fertility clinic in the country, arrest the doctors and staff who operate them, and charge all the wannabe parents who have been wantonly slaughtering legions of the unborn. But of course they'll never do such a thing. (Nor, to be absolutely clear, do I think they should.) Bush could not care less about this issue except as far as it helps burnish his pro-life credentials among his "base."

If Bush believes destroying embryos is murder, let him take a real stand against it. If he doesn't, he shouldn't make it harder for the thousands of embryos that are being discarded anyway to be used for a valuable purpose that could improve real lives.

That's why Bush's stem cell position isn't Solomonic -- it's craven. His upcoming veto is an act not of moral leadership but of hypocrisy. And the cost of this hypocrisy, assuming Congress can't muster the votes for an override, will be borne by everyone who dreams of new cures for awful illnesses.
The House vote to override the veto failed by 51 votes, 235-193. Arizona's Representatives did not follow partisan lines on this--voting to override the veto were Flake (R), Grijalva (D), Kolbe (R), and Pastor (D). Voting against were Franks (R), Hayworth (R), Renzi (R), and Shadegg (R).

Back in May of last year when the House passed the bill, Grijalva, Kolbe, and Pastor voted for it, while Flake, Franks, Hayworth, Renzi, and Shadegg voted against it as the Eagle Forum insisted.

In the Senate, where it passed yesterday on a vote after sitting there for over a year, Kyl voted against the bill and McCain voted for it. No surprise there.

(Thanks to John Lynch at stranger fruit for the voting info and the reference to Rosenberg.)

UPDATE July 19, 2006: I've corrected the above to put Franks' vote back on the expected side and remove my comments of surprise about his vote. I'm still surprised by Flake's vote to override the veto.

1 comment:

darwinoid said...


Turns out I screwed up and mixed up my "Franks". AZ-Franks voted as one would expect.

My bad