July 27, 2001
Maren L. Hickton
They are stumbling and mumbling on the airwaves, trying
to defend their support of Stem Cell Research. At podiums,
these "I am pro-life, oppose abortion" Congressmen go on and
on about "the promise, the hope of tissue that would otherwise
not be used." They attempt inspiring tales of the rages of
Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other diseases and talk about
their related visits to generations of their own ailing family
members who could be saved.
And they could, says this new research. Some have the audacity
to evoke God's name in their orations, talking about how stem
cells do not have "the breath of [God's] life," as they lay
in a Petri dish, "only when they are in a mother's womb."
How the Federal government should play a role in setting up
the boundaries, their boundaries, "to solve the most dreaded
diseases of this planet."
And this research can. They compliment each other, as they
struggle, for their "thoughtful" commentaries. They talk about
setting up "ethical constructs," as if they are the duly appointed
moral judges, as it they know better than others, with one
Senator talking about how "pro-life this funding really is."
The problem is, the ones who are speaking the loudest are
a mere lot of "holy" impostors.
These extreme right-wing GOP'ers are the same people who
believe they have the right to govern a woman's body and should
outlaw abortion, no matter what the circumstance. They say
life begins at conception - except if it could be used for
purposes that could help them. Screw women's rights.
These Congressmen are the same Bush spokespersons that fought
to ban U.S. funds to international family planning groups.
To them, it doesn't matter if a woman is raped; she should
carry the child to term and put it up for adoption, some say.
It doesn't matter if a woman already has seven children living
in poverty, and her husband claims a "marital right" and refuses
to use a condom; she should be denied an abortion for not
protecting herself. Protecting herself is her job, not his.
They ignore the fact that some women are on medications that
negate the effects of birth control and act as if women have
abortions on purpose, or worse, claim women are using abortion
as a means of birth control. A crude charge.
And if she's in grade school and gets pregnant, not even
completely mature herself, too bad for her. Children should
have children in record numbers. Many of these same GOP Senators
do not support the distribution of birth control in schools,
with the alternative for these children, abstinence, even
though they know it's not working. For some of these young
women, abortion wouldn't occur if such protections were made
Facts of life Mr. Bush, in particular, completely fails to
face. And when a woman must go through an abortion by pill
or procedure due to ignorance, abuse, or medical circumstances
that they may not even be aware of, these officials allow
these women to be scorned and/or harassed during this difficult
choice. And, as legislatures, they continue to demonstrate
their lack of understanding, their lack of compassion, as
they surreptitiously seek every opportunity, real or contrived,
to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Is it any wonder Bush and his poseurs are squirming and struggling
in circular discussions over Stem Cell Research and its implications
This is all coming from the new GOP platform which, by the
way, touts itself as the Party attracting more women. Good
ol' boys, who in a recent Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
meeting did not include but a token woman in their discussion
of support of Stem Cell Research, despite the fact that they
were talking a lot about women's bodies, women's rights and,
ultimately, women's fertilized eggs - embryos. The only woman
who commented that I heard during this entire presentation,
besides their panel of experts, came from Senator Kay Hutchison
(R-TX), whose comments were like that of someone disengaged,
or terribly rehearsed that ended up being glossed over. Hello?
I felt like I was watching a surreal version of 'The Stepford
No one would be struggling if some of these Congressmen and
the President got a clue, read the Constitution and Bill of
Rights, and took the time to understand why the separation
of church and state exists. In addition to the repeated rationale
that, "These embryos will be discarded anyway," as their justification
for Stem Cell R&D - which holds less water than some of their
arguments against abortion, no bioethicist will ever be able
to prove to anyone's complete satisfaction when life begins,
saving for when a baby is able to safely take it's first breath
outside the womb, where varying religious interpretations
conflict between denominations of the Christian sects, let
alone the vast number of other religions.
People cannot seem to grasp that a person can be pro-choice
and also pro-life. Being pro-choice is a political position
related to state matters. A pro-life stance, whether you are
a Congressman or citizen, is a religious position regarding
how one conducts his or her own personal behavior. Religious
positions cannot be legislated and imposed on others in this
republic - with all due respect to Pope John Paul II, who
does not support this research.
While the church-state quagmire on Stem Cell Research continues,
the public is entitled to a more substantive discussion. This
promising research, supported by a majority of Americans,
is going to occur with or without legislation, legally or
illegally, in the United States or elsewhere. But there are
risks, which is what the experts should also be talking about.
We must make sure that we do not have patients who end up
participating in Stem Cell studies without adequate protections,
protections that some patients have not been afforded in less-invasive,
medical treatment scandals, recently reported. The NIH must
present, define, and establish Stem Cell Research guidelines
and related trial protocols for those involved in this new
hope for epidemiology, whether they receive Federal funds
or not. And Congress must legislate safety protections so
that we don't end up with researchers pushing new medical
trials into the realm of the Frankenscience of Nuremberg.
This is what America wants to know about. We are not interested
in listening to bunch of hypocrites who dare to pontificate
about how "the embryo can fit on the tip of a needle," hence,
"is not life." Pietists only add confusion to this subject.
These Constitutional fools are some of the central figures
in our government who fight to deny women choice. They should
take them time to listen to the void of their own comments.
And when they are finished, they might consider reading God's
word concerning the subject of "free will."