Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush Vetos Lifesaving Legislation

Five and a half years later, after never seeing a spending bill he didn't like, after never vetoing a single piece of legislation regardless whether he understood it, President Bush chose pathetic political posturing and pandering over real science that is poised to help real people. President Bush admits that embryonic stem cell research provides an outstanding potential for not only treating, but CURING many diseases afflicting millions -- diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.

Nevertheless, playing to the rabid right wingnuts, today he vetoed legislation which would have permitted an expansion of stem cell research in the United States.
"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others,'' Bush said at the White House . . . .
That's a damned lie and he knows it.

"Innocent human life"? No, as he is well aware, stem cells are derived from eggs fertilized in laboratories. They are the natural and necessary results of couples attempting to have children. The excess are destroyed or donated for research purposes -- as decided by the patients. (In the unlikely event that there are any viable embryos produced which are not implanted, they would also have the choice of freezing them for future use.)

The embryo are only a few days old. Physically, they are a hollow, microscopic ball, of about 150 cells, called a blastocyst.

Human? Hardly. Sure, they come from a human body -- but so do alot of other things that we don't label "human". To label these blastocyst human embryos is to falsely conjure up the image of a fully-formed fetus for the purpose of making political hay.

The fact is that the majority of the blastocysts produced in this manner are considered of low quality and lacking the ability to develop into a human fetus. Indeed, if placed into a womb, most would not even implant. They would just be expelled.

In the clinics, they try to gather at least 5-7 eggs, and prefer even more, for in vitro fertilization. If they gather and fertilize 7 eggs, they typically expect that at least four or five will be of too low a quality to be implanted. Those embryos can only be destroyed or used for stem-cell research.

Since the average success rate for implanted embryos is at or under 50%, the "good" eggs are almost always used for implantation. (Especially given the cost -- $20 grand or more per implantation.)

So, what the anti-stem cell forces say is, in effect, you cannot use otherwise useless microscopic balls of cells to help living beings because it offends our religious sensibilities, so you have to toss them in the trash.

Just another example of how politicians screw things up when they interfere in decisions which are properly left to individuals and their physicians.

UPDATE: The House upheld the veto, missing the two-thirds needed by several dozen votes.

[Image Credit: Human Blastocyst, Institute for Stem Cell Research]


eRobin said...

Do you have the roll call on that vote?

A Big Fat Slob said...

No, sorry I don't. I watched the debate and vote on C-SPAN and reported the update from that.