Tony Snow is back

He’s been on hiatus from writing columns for four years now, but he’s back and slams Senator Frist’s pro-federal funding for stem-cell research stance:

First comes the fact that embryonic stem cell research involves what he calls the destruction of "nascent human life" — i.e., murder. He tries to twist free of this complication by defining the procedure as justifiable homicide. Frist says the embryo (a) was going to die, anyway, as part of in-vitro clinic housecleaning and (b) could supply genetic material useful in curing degenerative conditions, catastrophic injuries and wasting illnesses.

But this raises other complications: If Science has the right to conduct investigations on doomed or unwanted embryos, why not do the same with aborted infants, the still-warm deceased, the brain-dead or even cloned clumps of tissue?

The senator knows his position logically leads in this direction, and he proposes to prevent future horrors by passing laws. Unfortunately, bad ideas rarely stop in their tracks and mere statutes seldom forestall unhappy endings. Bad ideas instead serve as portals for the unimaginable. This is why things once considered criminal — such as designer babies and partial-birth abortions — now enjoy legal protection.

Frist next argues, as do many geneticists, that embryonic stem cells are special. They are "pluripotent" — capable of duplicating any cell in the human body — and therefore only they can regenerate organs and tissues wracked with infirmity and disease.

Research doesn’t yet support this view. Adult and cord-blood stem cells — which scientists can obtain without killing anything — have shown extraordinary healing capabilities. Researchers have used adult cells in ameliorating more than 70 diseases or conditions; cord-blood cells, more than 40. But embryonic stem cells have not produced a single therapeutic breakthrough. On the contrary, the cells have shown an unsettling tendency to grow wildly — creating cancers, instead of cures.

The point is, there’s no need for federal funding of a procedure that millions of people consider murderous. Embryonic stem cell research is perfectly legal, and entrepreneurs are pumping millions of dollars into it already. If someone finds good uses for the technology, a biotech gold rush will ensue, creating wealth that would humble Bill Gates himself.

Please read the whole thing.  Snow nails it.

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