IN MY OPINION
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I actually posted this video before (which is already in "flash" format), but it's of my Aunt Barb, and for those who haven't seen it before, I wanted to include it with this entry. Since this video was taken, she has lost more of her memory. She doesn't recognize anyone any more.
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21 July 2006
Barbara Bush was always the only Bush I could kinda sorta tolerate, or at least until she made her insensitive "let 'em eat cake" comment following the tragedy of Katrina. Then I saw that she was just better at hiding her "Bush-ness" than the rest of them were (having married into the family, I guess).
Nevertheless, despite my dislike of the whole clan, I would never wish any tragedy on the family. I'm not that bad a person. But I must admit that in the deep recesses of my black little heart I have thought many times over the past years, and especially in the past two days, about what sort of effect it would have had on the resolve of the man in the White House if his mother suffered from Parkinsons or his father developed Alzheimers, or if one of his daughters was struggling with exacerbations from multiple sclerosis.
When you personalize a disease, it makes a difference how passionate you are about it. Ronald Reagan never mentioned AIDS until his fellow actor, Rock Hudson died of it. Nancy Reagan would have been the last person one would loook to as a spokesperson for stem cell research, until her husband became one of those who might have been helped by research on stem cells.
It's a great photo op to stand in front of cameras surrounded by cute little kids who were born from donated frozen embryos, but lets look at the reality of it.
You have a bunch of fertilized embryos in some vault somewhere. They are the product of your egg and your husband's sperm. You've had implantation and it was successful. Hooray for you! Now you have a child. Or two children. Or maybe three children.
But you have leftovers.
If successfully implanted, they will be the biological brothers or sisters to the children you are raising.
How many people are likely to donate them to infertile couples? Some, perhaps, but it really is akin to giving your children up for adoption. These are your flesh and blood, or will be if successfully implanted and the resultant pregnancy allowed to come to term. How many are going to want to give permission for someone else to raise "their" children?
OK--so now we have this backlog of frozen embryos that YOU don't want because you already have the family that you've dreamed of, but the embryos are biologically yours. Sooner or later they are going be destroyed to make room for the embryos of people who are still actively attempting pregnancy.
From the National Embryo Donation Center web site: " Frozen embryos have a limited life span in storage. They will eventually die."
Bush, by his veto of the bill which would have allowed federal money to be spent on stem cell research has essentially said that it's ok to let the embryos die for nothing, but it's not OK to use them to save the life of the millions of people suffering from neurological disorders who might be helped by the results of federally funded research.
Senator Sam Brownback (R - Kansas) gave an impassioned presentation, complete with chart made by an 8 year old girl, who had been an adopted embryo. (The sad face in the middle is an embryo who realizes that it's going to be killed for research).
But in all the impassioned statements by foes of federally funded stem cell research, nobody mentions that unless these embryos are given up by the owners, they will DIE anyway.
Unless the government can force people who have paid to have embryos stored in the hope of future pregnancies to give them up (and boy does that have all sorts of "big brother" implications!), there is nothing that the federal government can do to stop the death of thousands of embryos.
What better legacy for an embryo than to bring an end to the suffering of, say, the president's mother...or father...or daughter... rather than just dying off because your time on this planet is up.
But unless the president is touched on a very personal level by the sorts of things that others of us see in our friends and relatives every day, he will keep up this ridiculous charade of saving the unborn.
"These boys and girls are not spare parts," Bush said. "They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research."
And what is lost, Mr. President, when nothing is done with those embryos. Not only is the embryo itself lost, but the opportunity to improve the life of the already-born, already-living, dies with it.
That, to me, is the greater moral ethical evil.
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