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I mentioned President Obama's new embryonic stem cell policy a few days ago to illustrate how Obama politicizes an issue while pretending NOT to politicize it. I wasn't commenting on the policy itself, which can be fairly described as 'anything goes.' Obama places no restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, though he said he expects scientists won't be irresponsible enough to clone human beings (I wonder if the Tuskegee Airmen would agree that scientists won't be irresponsible...Dr. Mengele, please report to research).
I found Obama's comments on embryonic stem cell research to be simplistic and dismissive. Obama referred to embryos as "these tiny cells," and referred to the previous government policy as being a "false choice between sound science and moral values." Comments like these made me wonder if Obama even knows what an embryo is, because you'd have to be stone cold stupid not to see there is a moral issue here.
Then I heard former President Bill Clinton bloviating on the issue on CNN in a discussion with former Obama Surgeon General candidate, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Get a load of this. You'll rarely hear anything this dumb:
Gupta: Let's talk about something you talked a lot about in the early part of your presidency, stem cells. There was an order today providing federal money for embryonic stem cell research. First of all, let me just ask you, as someone who studied this, is this going to always be as divisive an issue as it is now? Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation? Or are people going to come around?
Clinton: I think - the answer is I think that we'll work it through. If - particularly if it's done right. If it's obvious that we're not taking embryos that can - that under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies, and I think if it's obvious that we're not talking about some science fiction cloning of human beings, then I think the American people will support this....
Gupta: Any reservations?
Clinton: I don't know that I have any reservations, but I was - he has apparently decided to leave to the relevant professional committees the definition of which frozen embryos are basically going to be discarded, because they're not going to be fertilized. I believe the American people believe it's a pro-life decision to use an embryo that's frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research....
But those committees need to be really careful to make sure if they don't want a big storm to be stirred up here, that any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use. There are a large number of embryos that we know are never going to be fertilized, where the people who are in control of them have made that clear. The research ought to be confined to those....
But there are values involved that we all ought to feel free to discuss in all scientific research. And that is the one thing that I think these committees need to make it clear that they're not going to fool with any embryos where there's any possibility, even if it's somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings.
Words fail me. Bill Clinton has invented the 'unfertilized embryo' that cannot become a human being. It goes without saying that there's no such thing. An embryo, by definition, is a FERTILIZED egg. Conception has already happened. The embryo, by definition, IS a developing human being. It is called an embryo for the first 8 weeks, after which it's called a fetus. I have no idea why Dr. Gupta didn't correct President Clinton on such a basic error, especially after Clinton repeated the error over and over and over again.
Once Clinton's error is corrected, once Clinton is brought to realize what an embryo really is, then Clinton's words amount to a refutation of the Obama embryonic stem cell policy, because Clinton limits stem cell research to those cells that cannot become a human being, which would exclude embryos. Clinton's error refutes both himself and Obama. Clinton admits in his own uninformed way that there is a moral issue surrounding human life here.
Sounds to me like Clinton and Obama, the people claiming to be promoting science over ideology, don't know much about science in the first place. After all, it was candidate Obama who answered "it's above my pay grade" when Pastor Rick Warren asked him when human life began (John McCain gave the scientifically correct answer to the same question - "at conception.") If Obama doesn't know, maybe he shouldn't be so partisan and glib about embryonic stem cell research. Maybe he shouldn't have distorted and demonized the previous Bush policy, which at least gave consideration to both sides of the issue instead of only one side, as Obama does.