Stem-cell restrictions to go away–but how?

Barack Obama has mace it clear that legislation passed almost eight years ago to assuage religious luddites is not going to hild very far into his presidential term. As the NY Times reports, the question now is whether Bush’s veto will be overridden by presidential decree, which would expedite things, or by a trip through a highly supportive Congress, which would take longer, but establish lasting policy.
Of course I’m pleased that Obama is energetically pro-ESCR. But this is the kind of ignorant babbling that irks the hell out of me:

Democrats who oppose abortion say such a legislative fight holds the potential to get the year off to a difficult beginning, even though the outcome is certain given solid majorities in both the House and the Senate for expanded embryonic stem cell research.
“It is a very divisive issue, and it is a tough way to start,” said Senator Ben Nelson, a moderate Democrat from Nebraska. “You don’t want to stumble out of the box.”

If people in Congress insist on conflating abortion and ESCR, how do they expect to get the religious drones to quit doing it? Acting as though regulations pertaining to ESCs are interwoven with laws concerning abortion just because they both involve embryos is like claiming that regulations on owning cocker spaniels shine light on whether keeping sperm whales in your swimming pool is okay because dogs and whales are both mammals.
Yes, a lot of people who are not deep thinkers pretend that embryos have “souls” and that using them for research purposes–even when they are destined for the trash can otherwise–and aborting them are similar evils. But it’s up to out leaders, especially Democrats, to fight and correct this perception, not perpetuate it–and worse, pander to it.
There are coherent arguments against abortion, or at least certain types of abortion. I side with the pro-choicers, but I can appreciate some of the points pro-lifers (at least the ones not arguing strictly from a religious perspective or spreading misinformation) and fence-sitters make. Such is not the case, however with ESCR. There are no useful arguments against this kind of research per se. Yes, concerns about oversight are legitimate, but when in the history of biomedical research has this not been true?
The fact that people in the age of manned (and womanned) space travel and nanotechnology continue gibbering about “souls” without the threat of being formally judged insane shows just how primitive a people we remain.

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  1. #1 by Pierce R. Butler on January 3, 2009 - 8:36 pm

    Pandering “moderates” (like both Nelsons currently taking up space in the US Senate) tend to be a bigger obstacle to progress than the out-and-out reactionaries.

    Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  2. #2 by Pierce R. Butler on January 3, 2009 - 8:36 pm

    Pandering “moderates” (like both Nelsons currently taking up space in the US Senate) tend to be a bigger obstacle to progress than the out-and-out reactionaries.

    Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  3. #3 by Mike Haubrich, FCD on January 4, 2009 - 2:27 am

    I didn’t read the article the same way that you did, perhaps the fault of the writer more than anything any “pro-life” Democrats said.
    If anything they are saying that they will push it through, probably having to ‘splain to their constituents why incrased funding is needed when challenged by the Republicans.
    Here’s hoping that testimony in committee will give them the ammo they need.

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