19 July 2006

Stem Cell Veto

Pres Bush recently vetoed a bill from the Senate that would have allowed federal funding for stem cell research. He marked the occasion with a publicity photo, featuring himself surrounded by several couples with their children that they had "adopted" as unwanted embryos.

There are some facts that do not support Pres Bush's veto:

1) He has delayed medical discoveries that would have positively affected the lifespan and quality of many (or all) of the children in the photo. I am reminded of a poster by the Foundation for Biomedical Research:

2) Current IVF techniques were developed by experimenting with human embryos--meaning that the parents in the photo are to some degree protesting the science that made the photo possible.

3) Pres Bush delayed research that will improve IVF and other reproductive technologies. This has several implications:

a) Couples that cannot afford reproductive medicine will still be unable to do so;
b) Couples will continue to transfer several embryos in the hope that one or two will actually implant (most hope for twins, because IVF is so expensive). The problem is that in some cases, high multiples are achieved. Remember that in terms of infant mortality and morbidity, twins typically do fine, triplets are often problematic, and beyond triplets the outlook is usually poor. The couple is then faced with the option of "selective reduction," which means aborting some of the fetuses so the mother only carries one or two.
c) Couples that cannot be helped by today's medicine will still be unable to conceive.

(I also find it ironic that the same man that can argue that the benefits of war outweigh the costs (ie. civilian deaths and casualties), can also argue that the benefits of embryonic stem cell research do not justify the perceived costs.)


Anonymous said...

The real question Brian is when you criticize Bush do you show an excess of love towards him? (correlation to MPA post)

BrianJ said...


That's a good and fair question. (Assuming that you mean "increase in love," not "excess of love." After all, I don't know if it is possible to show too much love.)

The answer is: Yes.

Ian said...

I completely agree with your assessment. The hipocricy isn't lost on me.

Rest assured that he hasn't consulted experts or scientists in his decision. It was his opinion.

But of course, we can criticize while showing love.

I love you man!

BrianJ said...

Ian: Thanks for the love.

"Rest assured that he hasn't consulted experts or scientists..."

As a scientist, this is precisely the reason I'm getting worked up {smile}. Is that hubris?

By the way, I'm really not sure if Bush is being a hypocrite or not. I just wanted to point out the irony.

Aaron said...

I have nothing positive or loving to say about this decision, it angers me.

I think it has got to be difficult to be a scientist and be a republican. If they keep making decisions based on arguments that are proved to be false, the republican party is going to ostracize any person of intelligence. Maybe that is the goal. They can then control all of the sheep. Maybe they think that most of the population is stupid and they will then have the majority.