Frist Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Pulls a Kerry

| 6 Comments | 5 TrackBacks

Despite being an ardent supporter of abortion and voting against a ban on partial-birth abortion, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) claimed to be pro-life during his 2004 presidential bid. On January 25, 2004 he told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, "I'm against partial-birth abortion, as are many people." And, Kerry told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald in July, 2004, "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception." [more]

Kerry attempted to reconcile his seemingly contradictory positions by explaining that he believes personhood occurs at some later (mystical) point during pregnancy.

Majority Leader William Frist (R-Tennessee) has followed Kerry’s dialectical pattern by supporting embryonic stem cell research and yet claiming to be pro-life.

Frist 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.

Our development is a continuous process -- gradual and chronological. We were all once embryos. The embryo is human life at its earliest stage of development. And accordingly, 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. But, just as I said in 2001, it should advance in a manner that affords all human life dignity and respect -- the same dignity and respect we bring to the table as we work with children and adults to advance the frontiers of medicine and health.

So, Frist like Kerry believes life begins at conception and therefore claims to be "pro-life". He even goes further by stating "the human embryo has moral significance and moral worth. It deserves to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect."

Yet, the sanctity of human life is forgotten by Frist when, in the same statement, he throws his support behind research that kills the very life he believes should be treated with the "utmost dignity and respect."

When, Sen. Frist, is the point in time when you and Sen. Kerry believe the unborn are worth protecting from scientists who desire to harvest human lives for the advancement of their research programs?

Update: Prosthesis makes a similar point in Bill Frist is the new John Kerry

Others Blogging:

Opinion Times - In the realm of vacuuous reasoning, hollow arguments become sensible. Such is the case when it comes to embryonic stem cell research, and Bill Frist is feeling rather “sensible” these days.

The American Mind - By "growing in office" (a euphamism for a Republican becoming more liberal) Frist now conflicts with his pro-life stance. He can also kiss goodbye to his chance of becoming the GOP Presidential nominee in 2008.

Stones Cry Out - I don't see how someone who is against abortion can be for human experimentation on embryos.

Jill Stanek - I am disappointed in Senator Bill Frist, to say the least. His announced position in favor of embryonic stem cell research today is not only unethical but nonsensical.

Holy Fool - Not so surprising, however, for a politician to read tea leaves. The misinformation train has long left the station. People line up along the tracks to wave it on. Voters included

Antioch Road - Looking for genuine leadership on life issues? We won’t find it from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

LTI Blog - after reviewing Senator Frist’s pathetic speech justifying federal funding of destructive embryo research, I must say that, today, I am ashamed to be called a Republican.

The Dickens Family - As a lifelong Republican who supported George W. Bush both monetarily and through my vote, I am writing to express my deep disappointment that you are changing your view on Stem Cell research

jivinjehoshaphat- I am continually disappointed by politicians and individuals who recognize the scientific reality that the unborn are living human beings yet are in favor of not only killing these living human beings for their parts but also favor tax dollars being given to researchers to experiment on these parts.

Freedom of ... - Adult stem cells, however, have produced successful treatment of 65 different diseases/disorders with NO adverse side effects. It doesn't take a doctor to understand those statistics.

Stem Cell Extremist - Oh no Frist, how could you?

Conservaitve Conolia - Politicians still seem to believe that embryonic stem cells hold the clue to everything. It almost seems that they are suggesting that stem cell research will stop death all together, just as long as you use embryos.

Imago Dei - I for one am getting very tired of the same story. We have a majority in both houses, yet the Republican leadership cannot get John Bolton confirmed. On the topic of judges, Frist attempted to end the shameful Democrat practice of filibustering qualified judicial nominees with a 40 senator minority, but he ended up being subject to a 14 senator minority - with 7 Republicans joining. Now he changes his principled position on destructive embryonic stem cell research.

Scrappleface - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist today announced his support for expanding federally-funded stem cell research in hopes of finding a cure for his own addiction to tax dollars.

RedState - Today, on the floor of the Senate, Dr. Frist betrayed the conservative movement, President Bush, the history of the Republican Party, and thousands of defenseless Americans. In doing so, he effectively ended his brief flirtation with the Presidential nomination of the GOP and if this is a just world, he may also have effectively ended his leadership role within the party in anything but title.

6 Comments

Friends,

Back in August 2001 when President Bush broke an explicit promise to not use federal funds for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) I wrote in "Who Will Stand for Life" (http://www.constitutionparty.org/news.php?aid=54) that the Bush's fatal compromise would open Pandora's box and would eventually lead to deeper federal involvement. I also commented that those Christian and conservative leaders who affirmed the President's decision were more committed to the President and the GOP than the sanctity of life. Today Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced his support for expanded federal funding for ESCR.

New York Post columnist Rod Dreher's comments that August still ring true: "What choice do pro-lifers have? Politically, where else will they go? For what its worth, there will be no more illusions that Bush is a consistently pro-life president...Bush promised something else when he wanted pro-life votes. He lied, and that's hard to forget." Indeed, now we see that the GOP leadership in the Senate is following the President's lead.

The reaction from various national Christian and pro-life groups was predictable. They "lamented", "deeply regretted", and "expressed disappointment" at Frist's critical policy announcement. One national "pro-life" news organization didn't even challenge the Senator directly, but rather pointed to various comments from pro-life groups and doctors dismissing the future of ESCR.

Meanwhile more babies are dying.

What choice do pro-lifers have?

Complaining and lamenting the continual GOP captulation will not change their direction one bit. What will make the GOP leadership stop and take notice is if their elected representatives that make such abominable moral and legal judgements are turned out of office and replaced.

Replaced by candidates on the Constituition Party ticket, that is.

Back in 1998 the national party made the resolution that the National Committee "shall not endorse or distribute, allocate, contribute to or solicit funds for, or support in any way whatsoever, any candidate who does not pledge and act to defend and promote the inviolable right to life of innocent human beings, from the moment of conception to natural death " without exception." It kept that promise and only federal candidates that would stand and fight on that principle received support in 2000 and 2004.

My friends, if now you don't support candidates that will stand and fight for the sanctity of life, when will you?

When they are experimenting with the infirm? The mentally handicapped? The politically expidient?

When?


-Ricardo Davis

If embryonic stem cell research is murder, then the couples who do not donate their leftover embryos to other couples and allow them to be discarded instead are also murderers. Both embryonic stem cell research and flushing leftover embryos down the toilet result in the same thing - dead "human life."

a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. god have mercy on this communist run nation.
no-no-no- on john roberson

There's nothing inconsistent about either Kerry or Frist's positions, and those who continue to say things like this are just adding fodder to those who think conservatives are stupid.

Kerry believes that life begins at conception. Duh. Who doesn't? He also seems to agree with the majority of philosophers that moral rights due to personhood develop gradually. That's pretty standard for the pro-choice position, and it's consistent with believing that life itself begins at conception. What's most important about Kerry's view is that he doesn't think those moral rights, even later in pregnancy, are as strong as after birth. So far I haven't seen a contradiction. He just has a well-defined view that I believe to be false, and most people who look at what he says don't seem to be able to grasp the concepts he's using. That's a communication problem, not an inconsistency.

As for Bill Frist, see my post on that. This seems to be a case of a more careful moral theory than most people are willing to pursue. His critics aren't willing to explore the richness of how moral principles interact. Sometimes one moral principle outweighs another, and simplistic criticisms like that of Santorum, who can't see the difference between this and utilitarianism, just make it easier for liberals to accuse conservatives of being stupid.

Jeremy - the problem with Kerry's position, as I've said in the past, is the manner in which he states it which is different than you represent. When he asserts "I am pro-life" and "I believe life begins at conception" without qualifying his public statements with his philosophy about personhood he achieves a particular political purpose which is not accidental or the product of an inability to effectively communicate.

When he says he's pro-life, that's misleading. He's trying to take the expression literally when everyone knows it's a technical term for a philosophical view he doesn't hold. That's deceptive. His position isn't inconsistent, though.




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