Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Question of Life

Instead of manipulating people of faith by politicizing questions of when life begins and when it ends, what if we all focused on the quality of the time in between? Wouldn’t it be revolutionary to come together and actually work toward improving the quality of the lives we all lead? What could possibly be more pro-life?

The debate over embryonic stem cell research is a perfect case in point. Scientists, medical professionals, and the American public strongly support federal funding of this research because of the immense hope and promise it brings. Opponents characterize the utilization of these cells for medical advancement as immoral. To appeal to evangelicals, some claim it mirrors abortion or murder despite the fact that the cells in question are set to be discarded regardless. Nevertheless, they claim it’s a slippery slope that will undoubtedly lead to a complete disregard for the dignity of life and an inevitable rush to clone as many human beings as possible.

When confronted by those inflicted with disease and searching for hope, these lawmakers apologize and speak of questions of morality that take precedent over the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans who may someday benefit from this research. No, they claim it’s an issue they’d rather punt to the private sector. After all, to whom else should America turn to pave the way and provide leadership and focus on an issue of this importance?

Congress recently approved the federal funding of embryonic stem cells overwhelmingly, 65-37 in the Senate and 238-194 in the House. Instead of quickly signing the legislation into law, President Bush chose to issue his very first presidential veto. To date, it remains the only veto in his six years in office. Not exactly what I would call presidential leadership.

To those lawmakers who voted to uphold the president's veto, it’s time to pay the piper. And to those who respond to proponents of stem cell research with ignorance and hostility, keep it up. It only provides yet another opportunity for the world to see your true colors.

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