We all knew Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father. We may have acted surprised, but deep down, we knew. As much as Luke might have hoped against it, he knew it to be true. It was destiny. And so it is with President Bush’s decision to veto vital stem cell research legislation passed by both the House and Senate. More than two-thirds of the country might have hoped against it, but deep down, they knew it was destined to happen.
Based on Bush’s track record, it came as no surprise. His stubborn inability to compromise (loved by some, loathed by many) made the announcement of his veto a mere formality. We had only to find out which of the few “saved” children he would parade in front of the cameras. Conspicuously missing from the spectacle were the millions of people suffering from disease. Or footage of frozen embryos being tossed into the garbage.
I became an inadvertent public advocate for the stem cell cause recently. A local news station came out to do a human interest story about us a few weeks ago. They asked me one question about stem cell research. Sure enough, they ran the story in conjunction with the Bush veto, wherein I had expressed frustration with current roadblocks. I never actually mentioned the administration. I didn’t think my comments would be used in a political sense. But I agree with the implication.
I’ve ranted about all this here before, but let me reiterate that I take the potential destruction of any life very seriously. Now more than ever. There are no easy solutions or answers. I am not advocating for the production of embryos for research. I don’t want life to be sacrificed for my own. But that isn’t what stem cell advocates are asking for. The intent of the bill passed by Congress is very explicit: to allow for the donation of existing, unused embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization which are slated to be otherwise destroyed.
I’ve come to see such an act as similar to organ donation. Knowing I was about to die, I would rather donate my heart to save someone’s life than have it put in a dumpster. I’d rather donate my body for research than have it frozen for eternity. Such gifts are made every single day. So who’s to say who is crossing a “moral boundary” here? The debate will undoubtedly continue, as it should. This type of boundary is so grey it’s charcoal.
Oddly enough I had recently started to forget about the promise of stem cells. The subject has been so over-hyped to those of us with illness that it’s become easier to ignore it. ALS is a nasty disease. It may turn out that no type of stem cell can help defeat it. But I am absolutely convinced stem cells will help save lives in the future. I’ve searched my feelings. Deep down, I know it to be true. It is our destiny.