View Full Version : Frist Takes a Stand
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Fri, 29th Jul '05, 2:58pm
I heard this on CNN this morning, but I'm unanble to find a link to a story. If someone has it, please provide.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has broken away from the official White House position and has stated that he would support a bill for stem cell research. He does not want an anything goes research plan though. He would support a bill that allows human embryos from fertility clinics to be used in stem cell research only if the parents decided that they didn't want any more children, and that the embryos would otherwise be discarded.
Frist is actually a medical doctor, and feels that the benefits that could be gained from stem cell research are such that there is no reason not to put embryos that would otherwise be discarded towards research.
This has been my position for a few years now - ever since Bush's decision in 2001 actually. If the alternative is a dumpster (in which the embryos are destroyed) why not send them to research? If they are destroyed regardless, why not allow some good to come from it?
Fri, 29th Jul '05, 3:53pm
Here is a link:
Senate's Leader Veers From Bush Over Stem Cells (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/29/politics/29stem.html?ei=5065&en=592a891425c55b3f&ex=1123300800&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print)
Chandos the Red
Fri, 29th Jul '05, 9:41pm
Good for him. But the anti-cure people will be out to get him for breaking ranks. Regardless, since he knows he doesn't have the votes to over-turn one of George II vetoes, this is largely strategic, pre-presidential, politics.
Fri, 29th Jul '05, 10:03pm
“anti-cure”? That has some implication that people that are against embryonic stem-cell research want to deny people a cure for their maladies. :eek:
I really don't have a strong opinion one way or another about this. I would prefer that embryos not be created for the express purpose of destroying them as it seems a little cannibalistic to me, but if the embryo already exists, and it is to be destroyed anyway, why not put it to a good use.
That said, I have yet to hear of any successful treatments that have been developed from embryonic stem cells, while stem cells from other non-destructive sources are already being used to treat disease. Every report I have read states that each time scientists get close to a breakthrough with embryonic stem-cells the experiments fail, often with catastrophic results (cancer or immune failure in the test subject). However, that doesn't mean that a cure for some horrible disease isn't within hours, days, or months from discovery.
This is an issue that I believe both sides should attempt to demonstrate understanding and respect for the other, and let the "democratic" ( :rolleyes: ) process play itself out.
I really believe that we should remember that the people against embryonic research don't take pleasure in the suffering of others, and the people in favor of such research do not take pleasure in the death of a potential human.
Sat, 30th Jul '05, 8:21am
If the embrionic cells would otherwise be discarded, then I would rather them used to save lives and mitigate suffering, but I still oppose creating life only to destroy it...
Sat, 30th Jul '05, 5:04pm
I saw Fisk's address to the Senate about this. Based on what he said I would be in favor of a bill he supported.
The only cells used would be those that were slated to be destroyed. Written permission would be needed. There would be no monetary gain to the donors (or if I understand correctly to anyone). Some sort of oversight authority would be established.
edited lousy typing.
[ July 30, 2005, 18:20: Message edited by: Nakia ]
Chandos the Red
Sun, 31st Jul '05, 6:06pm
Many of the fanatics who oppose this kind of research could care less about the suffering of others: Gunning down doctors in the streets, harassing women who go into abortion clinics, blowing them up - calling them murderers, baby killers. Sorry if the term, "anti-cure" implies too much regarding those "delicate" and "sensitive" individuals. :rolleyes:
Mon, 1st Aug '05, 6:15am
It's not just fanatics that question the ethics of this research. The term for people that do the things that Chandos is talking about is murderer or ever terrorist. Thou shalt not kill applies to the Living and the unborn, something that these people forget. The qoute from the bible goes "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. Vengeance is MINE sayeth the Lord." The Lord will avenge the murdered if the murderer won't repent...
Mon, 1st Aug '05, 10:15am
The Lord will avenge the murdered if the murderer won't repent... Yes, I imagine spending eternity in hell would be mildly unpleasant for an unrepentant murderer.
Mon, 1st Aug '05, 3:42pm
Many of the fanatics who oppose this kind of research could care less about the suffering of others: Gunning down doctors in the streets, harassing women who go into abortion clinics, blowing them up - calling them murderers, baby killers. Sorry if the term, "anti-cure" implies too much regarding those "delicate" and "sensitive" individuals. Lighten up Chandos, you are describing a very small minority of those who are against this type of research. It is rhetoric like this that further divides and polarizes people on issues like this.
You will like this one. The other night I was driving home from a small town that is about 1.5 hours from my house, and I was in the middle of the biggest freaking thunderstorm I have seen in a long time. The only AM radio station that would come in is the ultra-conservative talker from Tulsa (I really wanted detailed weather info and the FM stations are too busy playing terrible pop or country music to give any meaningful weather info, at least around hear), and I had the pleasure ( :sick: ) of listening to Michael Savage between the static caused by the lightning. It was a little garbled, but he was saying something to the effect of those opposing to the war in Iraq, but supporting pro-choice and support embryonic stem cell research being hypocrites, as they are upset about the 1,500 soldiers that have in Iraq, but could care less about the hundreds of thousands of babies that needlessly being killed. :nuts: Savage was obviously born with a rare defect that prevents any logical thought whatsoever.
Mon, 1st Aug '05, 4:10pm
Frist is actually a medical doctor, and feels that the benefits that could be gained from stem cell research are such that there is no reason not to put embryos that would otherwise be discarded towards research.This is exactly why I've thought Frist was such a douchebag all this time, specifically for his position on this issue. As a doctor, I always felt he should "know better" - which is to say I think was being intellectually dishonest by siding with the "they're chopping up little babies!!" crowd. It's nice to see he's actually being a doctor about this. Considering how dangerous (politically) it is to break with the party line on an issue like this, I've gained an enormous amount of respect for the guy as a result of this. Somehow he always seemed to wince a little when talking about this issue before, like he knew what he was saying was BS but didn't dare say otherwise. Good for him, I say.
But then again, Chandos may be right, and this may just be pre-2008 "strategery." I hope it isn't the case, and I do hope he's sincere. The more people of position and influence who are rational about this issue, the better.
That's not to say that I think that people who are opposed to stem cell research are being irrational - far from it. There are certainly ethical questions involved that need to be addressed. But there are enough people out there who think (incorrectly) that stem cell research requires empregnating women and harvesting the embryos specifically for the purpose of research fodder that it makes it difficult to have a serious debate about it IMO. Since no one has ever proposed that practice (it's always been about going through envitro clinics), we can thank the James Dobsons of the world for the widespread misconception.
I think "anti-cure" doesn't quite say it, and is a little unfair. "Anti-baby-killing-because-life-begins-at-conception, dammit!" is more accurate. Though, admittedly, not near as catchy. ;) I don't think anyone is against finding cures for lifes ills, just the whole going through "potential" human beings to get it part.
Chandos the Red
Mon, 1st Aug '05, 4:20pm
DW - Agreed. It is a small minority. Yet, not only are they very vocal, but they seem to have a great deal of influence in the current administration. In other words, a small group of fanatics have hi-jacked, not only the debate itself, but the political decision making process as well. Those are the ones I was referring to as "anti-cure." Take a look at this comment by Dobson on Frist:
To push for the expansion of this suspect and unethical science will be rightly seen by America's values voters as the worst kind of betrayal--choosing politics over principle."Hence I used the term "anti-cure." They have labled this promising research as, "suspect and unethical."
This is the opposite take on Frist, commented by someone on MTP yesterday morning:
I think it is absolutely in character for Bill Frist. He lives in two worlds. He has never stopped being Dr. Frist even while he's been Senator Frist. He practices in charity wards and goes overseas to take care of patients all the time. And I think this reflects the fact that in the world where his friends, his family live, stem cell research is regarded as enormously promising and legitimate. And while most of us think of him purely in political terms, he has a whole other life that may be as important and compelling to him in the long term...DR - Here is more from Dobson:
Most distressing is that, in making his announcement, Sen. Frist calls himself a defender of the sanctity of human life -- even though the research he now advocates results, without exception, in the destruction of human life. Yes, that is quite a comment, and it makes my "anti-cure" comment appear quite trivial. It appears to me, like many other political observers, who thought that politics were driving Frist's stand, may have gotten him wrong on this. It just took him a while to find the courage to take on these guys.
[ August 05, 2005, 04:19: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Thu, 4th Aug '05, 10:18pm
@ DR and Chandros,
I too considered a possible political motive for Frist here in gaining the 2008 presidential nomination. It is true that some of Bush's social programs (to say nothing of international politics) have been viewed by nearly half the country as less than favorable. It occured to me that he may be doing this to widen his base of potential voters. Here's the problem with that though - at the same time he is also shrinking his potential voter pool.
If that was Frist's plan, he is taking an enormous risk. He is hoping that the number of votes he picks up in the middle offsets the number he loses from the religious right. Rest assured, most groups of the religious right will view this action as nothing less than a betrayal. Conventional wisdom suggests that in order to win the Presidency, Frist needs the support of the religious right - unless that is he picks up enough people in the middle to offset this.
In the greater scheme of things though, I don't think a politician's views on stem cell research are a make or break issue for most people. I don't think stem cell research is as hot button an issue as abortion or gay marriage. Once that is acknowledged it is clear that many on the religious right will still vote for Frist despite this issue because of his stance on other controversial social topics. Llikewise, many in the cetner may not vote for Frist simply because while they may agree with him on this particular issue, his overall social stance is unacceptable to them. So my feeling is the net change won't amount to a heck of a lot.
Sat, 6th Aug '05, 6:32am
I do not think he has a presidential motive in mind but is simply being realistic.
These are embryonic stem cells that are going to be destroyed. Why waste them? Use them for research.
The morality of the creation of embryonic stem cells was mentioned but considered a seprate issue. I agree.