Bush’s Stem Cell Position: Still Incoherent

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It’s become commonplace to note the utter incoherence of President Bush’s position on stem cell research, and Clara touches on the subject below, but I think it’s worth repeating over and over again to emphasize that his veto today was cheap opportunism at its worst. The president opposes stem cell research because it involves removing cells from a blastocyst and so destroying a five-day-old embryo. But he has no problem whatsoever with IVF treatment, a process that usually produces far more embryos than are needed and so potentially requires the destruction of some of them (they can’t all be snowflake babies, after all). Indeed, he’s explicitly praised the work of fertility clinics.

Moreover, if Bush really believes that stem cell research involves the “murder” of embryos, as Tony Snow announced yesterday, then simply opposing federal funding for the research isn’t enough. He should, logically, support a ban on all stem cell research. Murder is murder, after all, whether it’s funded by the government or not. But of course Bush has never supported a ban on the privately-funded destruction of embryos. As Michael Kinsley once wrote, “Moral sincerity is not impressive if it depends on willful ignorance and indifference to logic.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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