As a parent of three children created through donor egg procedures, I’m quite personally acquainted with "test tube babies" (what an awful term!). The New York Times today notes that Bush tried to pull the rug out from under Congress, with what I consider a despicable baby circus. The House just passed a fairly progressive stem cell research bill encouraging embryonic research. In fact, the new bill (for which 50 House Republicans bolted from their party leadership), is a challenge to Bush’s "adult stem cell only" bill which severely restricted stem cell research by making embryonic stem cells off limits. The evangelical movement provided scores of baby "props" for Bush to sound off against the newly passed bill.
I was so pleased to hear that Nancy Reagan became actively involved in lobbying legislators on behalf of the new legislation. It’s heartening to know that the Gipper’s wife, Mrs. Republican, understands that saving lives is the issue, not hurting potential babies. Now, what we need to do is write to our Senators telling them we want embryonic stem cell research. If, like me, your baby was created through fertility treatment that involved embryo transfer it’s even more incumbent on you to get involved to counter the disgusting image of George Bush using innocent babies to grandstand politically on this nuanced issue.
As with most Bush political theater, the underlying theme of yesterday’s baby circus was totally specious and an utter distortion of the truth of the issue.
"The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a
spare embryo," Mr. Bush said, amid the squeals and coos of babies
cradled in their mothers’ arms. "Every embryo is unique and genetically
complete, like every other human being. And each of us started out our
life this way. These lives are not raw material to be exploited, but
When Mr. Bush said that "every human life is a precious gift of
matchless love," a mother behind him on stage mouthed the word "Amen."
If you plumb the depths of this lunacy you will see that George Bush doesn’t favor allowing parent’s who’ve produced embryos to control them. When we did our two procedures, we told our clinic that we wished any unused embryos (not "spare" or "raw material to be exploited") to be donated for medical research. Apparently, George doesn’t even approve of allowing us to make that decision. Once you produce the embryo they are life and not yours to "harm" (their term not mine) or cause to die (again their term). Does anyone see the train crash of a political issue this would entail?
Bush too displays his utter disregard (or perhaps a stronger word like animosity or mistrust is appropriate) for scientific research when he warns that these unused embryos "are not raw material to be exploited." Since when is scientific research for the betterment of human health "exploitation?" Only in the eyes of someone who profoundly mistrusts science and the benefits it provides to humanity is this so.
And George, no one considers embryos used to find cures for currently incurable diseases "spare." They are indeed precious because though I no longer want them because my procreative days are over, I cherish the idea that that embryo could preserve or prolong the life of another human being. I embrace the idea of their use for this purpose.
Talk about exploitation! Look at these baby pictures and tell me who’s exploiting whom here. The parents are allowing their children to be exploited and Bush is aiding and abetting the exploitation. I’m absolutely disgusted by the effrontery of this circus. Shades of Terry Schiavo. The only difference is that they’re not exploiting a terminally ill woman this time; they’re exploiting little babies.
Speaking of Terry Schiavo, not one to allow himself to be upstaged by George Bush, Tom DeLay displayed his own utter ignorance of human biology with this comment:
"An embryo is a person, a distinct internally directed,
self-integrating human organism," Mr. DeLay said, adding, "We were all
at one time embryos ourselves. So was Abraham. So was Muhammad. So was
Jesus of Nazareth."
Please, someone tell me what "internally directed, self-integrating human organism" means in scientific–or any terms. It’s all gobbledy-gook passing for pseudo-science. Notice how despite the fact that he’s advocating a purely evangelical interpretation of this issue, he attempts to mask this in the cloak of inter-faith dialogue with his references to Abraham, Mohammed and Jesus. Will no one rid of us of this meddlesome priest of the evangelical Right?
If anyone from organizations supporting the new legislation is reading this, I’m prepared to do anything I can to help in combating this perfidious abuse of children for tendentious religious purposes.