On July 29, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist officially endorsed federal funding for embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. This issue is of pivotal importance in the pro-life struggle. Should the government refuse funding for ESC research, it would weigh heavily in favor of the belief that an embryo is a human life, demanding all the rights and privileges inherent to it.
Current U.S. law is somewhat ambiguous on the issue. While abortion, cloning and ESC research remain legal, a criminal who murders a pregnant woman can be tried for two murders (and rightly so).1
Regrettably, Senator Frist’s statement further clouded the waters. He first defended the belief that an embryo is a complete human life, then opined that the government should fund embryo-killing research. He stated:
I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception. It is at this moment that the organism is complete – yes, immature – but complete. An embryo is nascent human life. It’s genetically distinct. And it’s biologically human. It’s living. This position is consistent with my faith. But, to me, it isn’t just a matter of faith. It’s a fact of science.
…We were all once embryos…the human embryo has moral significance and moral worth. It deserves to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
I also believe that embryonic stem cell research should be encouraged and supported.2
His position is in direct conflict with that of President Bush and is seriously damaging to the pro-life movement that has been steadily gaining ground over the past years. It is inconsistent and incoherent.
In light of this, the American TFP web site is launching an email campaign, asking Senator Frist to clarify his position. It hopes to generate thousands of emails posing the following questions to Senator Frist:
1. You have stated that you support performing fatal experiments on nascent (but complete) human life. Would you also support such experiments on mature human life? If not, why not?
2. If you believe nascent human life can be ethically sacrificed on the altar of scientific research, why not sacrifice it for the convenience of the mother as well? And if you feel this is justified, how can you continue to call yourself a pro-life politician, benefiting from the votes this position brings with it?
Senator Frist may not want to answer these questions. Doing so would certainly alienate voters. However, at this stage in the game, the politics of having one’s cake and eating it too no longer fits the bill. Polarized America cries out for definition and clarity from its politicians.
“What is truly at question here is not scientific research,” said American TFP Vice President John Horvat. “Senator Frist himself admitted that embryonic stem cell research has not produced any results. This is politicking, plain and simple.” He added: “Every American deserves straight forward answers and that’s what we hope to get from Senator Frist.”