Saturday, July 30, 2005

Embryonic stem cell research rift in GOP

There seems to be some squabbling in the GOP about embryonic stem cell research , specifically federal funding of it. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist supports it, while President Bush does not. In Frist's remarks from the Senate floor, he specified exactly which embryos should be used:
I said four years ago, we should federally fund research only on embryonic stem cells derived from blastocysts leftover from fertility therapy, which will not be implanted or adopted but instead are otherwise destined by the parents with absolute certainty to be discarded and destroyed.
Personally, I agree with everything he said about embroys to be used for stem cell research...everything except federal funding.

Look, I hate to be an insensitive jerk here, but it is not the federal government's job to provide taxpayer funds to do stem cell research. States, sure. Private grants, sure. Fundraisers, yes. Confiscating money from taxpayers, many of whom may find the research objectionable, at the federal level is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind as a valid federal responsibility.

For me, it's not a bioethics issue. My own belief is that the research is valuable, and we may potentially harvest a great deal of medical rewards from it. I want to see it funded from somewhere. I just don't think it's clear that the federal government should be the one funding it. I haven't seen anything in the Constitution that convinces me otherwise, but I am certainly open to your views.