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Wed

11

Mar

2009

A Real Stem-Cell Twister
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 11:07
by Stephen P. Pizzo

So, Obama reverses Bush's ban on funding fetal stem cell research and the religious right (along with the sycophantic pols whose only vote-getting trick is to pander to them) came out of the woodwork.

Because, you see, using these 150 cell-bundles (blastocysts) for research is “killing babies.”

Let's just let that huge cognitive absurdity pass. We all know how both sides of that argument goes already. Boy, do we.

No, what I want to focus on today is this; where have all these blastocyst savers been over the last 25 years? Oh sure, they've been harassing women trying to get family planning services at Planned Parenthood clinics, but that's just one place where the “murders” were occurring.

Let me explain.

The fetal cell tissue Obama will now allow to be used in research comes from some of the 600,000 fertilized eggs, frozen and stored at fertility clinics. That's how many of the unused frozen fertilized eggs are disposed of – an unceremonious burial in red plastic bags marked, “medical waste.”

So, where were these self righteous protectors of the blastocyst while all that was going on?

I'll tell you where they weren't – they weren't protesting outside fertility clinics, that's for damn sure. All these years, all those protests in from of family planning clinics, a not a single right to lifer protesting the 600,000 blastocysts dumped in medical waste bags and deposited in the trash — year in, year out – and it didn't seem to phase them one little bit. (When was the last time you read of a right-to-lifer taking a shot at a fertility clinic doc or harassing women going in to one to have their eggs fertilized and frozen — of which some will almost certainly be destroyed later?)


In fact the so-called “pro-life” community didn't even get around to acknowledging the whole fertility clinics thing until pro-choice forces pointed out this humungous contradiction. That's when their holier than thou leaders, like the obsequious Tony Perkins, cooked up the idea of “Snowflake Babies.”

The idea was to encourage infertile couples to “adopt” these unwanted frozen blastocysts and save them for destruction. . (Unless of course you're a gay couple — in which case they prefer the red bag instead.)

So, how's the whole snowflake campaign going? After almost eight years there's now just a tad over 300 snowflake children. It's a number that is statistically insignificant as that would number would have been met anyway, since egg donation was a trend that predated the whole flaky “snowflake” diversion.

During the years the Bush administration accommodated these anti-science morons they remained reasonably quiet. But they were back in full force this week when Obama lifted that ban.

Their argument, once again, is that every fertilized egg deserves “the right to life,” by which I assume they mean a full-term, walking around, eating, driving a car and voting kind of life. And how do they propose to secure life's Full Monty for the frozen cells at fertility clinics?

They want the ban Obama lifted yesterday, reinstated. Never mind that means 599,700 of their imaginary frozen humans will be “disposed of” every year. Or that along with them will go any scientific knowledge those cell-bundles may carry that could save the lives millions of non-imaginary, full-term humans in the future. They don't care. What they care about is reinstating the ban on federal funds being used for something they find morally objectionable.

(Never mind that a whole lot of us out here found equally objectionable the use of federal funds to attack Iraq, killing Iraqi civilians by the tens of thousands many of them children. Or that many of us find the use of state and federal funds to execute full-term, walking, talking, feeling humans, equally objectionable. The religious right has less of a problem killing full-term humans than they do using blastocysts for research. Ah, but I digress.)

Since the Snowflake ruse seems to have fallen short by, oh say, a lot, what will the protectors of the blastocyst do now? Maybe they might split off a few dozen of their dead-fetus-sign carrying bots and send them over to the nearest fertility clinic. After all, by their definition of human life, those fertility clinics are virtual blastocyst Auschwitz's.

But don't hold your breath. Because it's not about killing babies. For our Christian Taliban, it's about killing choice. Because the religious right is perfectly okay with a single, unemployed, emotionally challenged young woman to spit out 14 kids, but foursquare against sending a frozen blastocyst off to do valuable medical research.

Maybe the religious right's objections to research that tries to read the mysteries of life within DNA of these otherwise doomed blastocysts need a catchy slogan. I suggest they go for pinpoint accuracy in their slogan.

How about, “Better Dead Than Read.”
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