Monday, October 30, 2006

Maryland Repug's Bizarre Stem Cell Proposal

The battle for Maryland's Senate seat is intensifying, and stem-cell research has become one of the primary issues for voters in that state. On Sunday's Meet the Press, the controversial subject was discussed in a debate between Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) and Democratic challenger Rep. Ben Cardin (D). On several occasions, host Tim Russert pinned the Repug candidate's back to the wall and left him stammering for a cogent reply.

Russert asked Steele to substantiate the claim in his new ad--which features his sister, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis--that Cardin's Michael J. Fox ad is "tasteless and deceptive." Steele said he in fact supports stem cell research, which Fox claims he doesn't. Both candidates claim to support stem-cell research, but while Cardin supports both adult and embryonic stem-cell research, Steele advocates research on adult-only cells.

Russert then said to Steele: I went up on the Web site for the National Institute of Health frequently asked questions. And let me share those with you and our viewers. "Question: Why not use adult stem cells instead of using human embryonic stem cells in research? National Institute of Health: Human embryonic stem cells are thought to have much greater developmental potential than adult stem cells." That's the issue. And...

Steele: That's the, that's the issue.

Russert:'re opposed to using something that has more promise than adult stem cells.

Russert continued: Why are you opposed to using embryonic stem cells? Taking of a life?

Steele: It's taking, yes, I see that as a life, and I, and I don't think that we should use federal funds to do that. And that's, and that's the difference to me.

Now here's where it gets interesting...and, quite frankly, bizarre.

Russert:'s, here's a question that I have to pose: There are fertility clinics all across the country, several in Maryland--Shady Grove, Baltimore...

Steele: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Russert: ...where they take embryonic stem cells and discard them because they're not used in pregnancies--embryos. What--will you close down those fertility clinics?

Steele: I won't close down the fertility clinics. We have options there. We could, we could set up adoptions for those, for those embryos. There are so many other options that we can pursue that we don't. And, and the key thing to keep in here-- keep in mind here, and for me, and I think for--hopefully for Ben, too, and I-- because he's a good man on this, on this subject: Science moves us in a certain direction, and it pushes the envelope, as it should. But as a society, we also must, must consider the, the, the religious, the moral, and the ethical values of that society, and that needs to be a part of this as well. So we cannot just because it's in a bill, we cannot just because a scientist or a group of scientists say,--Yeah, let's do this,--that we don't step back and, and assess for ourselves is this the moral, ethical and, and, and appropriate thing to do?

Russert: But I'm trying to, I'm trying to understand the logic. If, in fact, these embryos are being discarded by fertility clinics, and you think that's the taking of a life, how can you tolerate or allow it?

Steele: But my point is that we need to look at exactly how, how we store them, we have 400,000, I think, across the country. I, I would pursue options that would allow us to look at adoption of some of those embryos and, and to the extent that they...they'e no longer viable, that they have expired or whatever, then you have to look at what you do there. My only point is, let's step back and evaluate what our options are before we go headlong into a sear--into a science or a research that is not fully developed.

Russert: Would you forbid fertility clinics from destroying embryos?

Steele: Would I forbid them from destroying embryos? Probably would like to look at that a little bit more closely. I don't, I don't know exactly how that mechanism is set up right now with respect to each, each clinic

The reason Russert can't understand the logic is because there is no logic. The lunacy of Steele's positions on stem-cell research knows no bounds. He equates embryonic stem-cell research with the taking of life, but then refuses to emphatically agree that fertility clinics, which discard unused cells which in turn could be used in this research, should be shut down. He'd rather see these valuable cells destroyed than used for scientific/medical research. But the thing that made my head spin was his proposal to possibly put these cells up for adoption. On the eve of Halloween, I must say, nothing could be more twisted and macabre than that.


Anonymous said...

This is all the more reason why we as a nation shouldn't mix religious beliefs and government.

I don't want to live in a Christian theoacracy.

I want my country to be as it was set up to be. Freedom from government sponsored religion.

Stem cell research is supported by the American public in huge numbers.

Vote to get rid of these backward Republicans.

Anonymous said...

All religions don't even agree that an embryo is a life with a soul. Some teach it's when the first breath is taken.The seperation of any church and state must be maintained.

Anonymous said...

I already adopted one. It's name is Gena-Bob and we keep it in a petri dish. Great conversation piece.

Anonymous said...

Hey -- if I adopt a whole bunch, think how much income tax deductions for dependent children I could get!

Anonymous said...

Don't be ignorant lemmings. If you did a little research, you'd find out embryo adoption (and implantation) is a viable lower-cost alternative for infertile couples who can't afford full blown in-vitro fertilization. It has nothing to do with stem cell research as the parents are releasing the embryos for adoption just as they could potentially release them for stem cell research. It is those parent's choice what happens to their genetic material after extraction.

Anonymous said...

So.. Anon at 1:29.. you're saying it's fine and dandy for the owner of the genetic material to say "give it to a needy couple", but they shouldn't be allowed to say "give them to research"?

To top that off, you STILL don't address the POINT of the embryos that are NOT "given explicit permissions to". Those get DESTROYED.. The underlying debate is about THOSE, not "what can we do to minimize destruction", or "how can we better our use of unused embryos", right?

Ignorant lemmings? HA! Right.. Instead of DISTRACTING from the POINT, how about addressing it? Or is an honest debate too much for ya?

In the end, embryos are allowed to DIE (according to the zealots, that's a viable soul/life going to waste and making god cry). If you don't support letting them "die", you have to be against the current procedures set up in fertility clinics.. dems da facts, ma'am. And this Repug, who knows there's a lot of "rich folks who want to circumvent their god and have science give them babies when god wouldn't" would get mad if he mentioned "shutting down their ability to play god".

Religion! ahhhh.. it's so great to see all the hypocricy! The stench of it would make the most psychotic dictator giddy with power. Oh.. wait.. would? I meant DOES.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea , we could start a " save the precious cell " campaign . Then we could round up all of the women of child bearing age parading around outside womens health and planed parenthood clinics and impregnate them with the embryos . Any that can't carry a child for whatever reason , too old , too young , bad health etc could be forced to adopt a full term baby from a woman who was going to have an abortion at said clinic . No excuses accepted , can't afford , already have children etc , remember , all that matters are the assumed rights of the fetus and of course , " what god wants " which of course , they know without doubt . Lets not forget to include the bush twins and the other idle rich bimbos in the bush family .

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1:29 says:

My personal beliefs aside, I think the choice for where the genetic materials should go rests with the donors (I refer to them as the parents).

By talking about embryo adoption I was merely addressing Andy's lame Halloween tie-in. The rest of the blog was right on until that point. Most of the first four comments were aimed at that also. It got a fire lit under me on that point so I addressed that only.

Anonymous said...

Just another hamfisted attempt to push the borders of Dumbfuckistan out to cover both coasts of the North American continent.

Loud, illiterate morons who don't even know what planet we live on, how life came to be or what as a species we have potential for, ARE IN CHARGE OF EVERYTHING.

Keeps me awake at nights in a cold sweat it does...

Anonymous said...

The couple responsible for creating the embyros/children should be forced to declare them as their very own children and the wife should give them a home in her womb, one after another, until each is old enough to breathe on its (excuse me -- "her" "his") own. If the parents "made" them, then they "own" them and are responsible for the babies continued existence on this earth.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 1:29 (& 2:30)

Can't we assume that embryo adoption is ALREADY HAPPENING for the people who want it?

It seems that Steele is suggesting embryo adoption for EVERY EMBRYO. This is what is so ludicrous and for Ostroy and his so called lemmings, right on point.

Anonymous said...

To anon 3:19

I will go one further. I am responsible for the life of every one of my eggs. I will now set out to join each with a sperm and raise them all accordingly.
I suggest you do the same with your eggs or sperm. Every one is sacred!

Anonymous said...

I'm pro life, and therefore I don't wash my hands, because washing my hands kills millions and millions of germs. So if someone tells you to wash your hands, just say no.

OK, if you feel that the preceding statementn is completely stupid, then how does it differ from Michael Steele's un-answer?

Pro life means pro saving lives. Remember that when you see a diabetic taking his/her insulin.

Anonymous said...

I hope you all vote to defend America and fire the Republicans.

You once great country depends on it.

Anonymous said...

Listening to Steele hem and haw was bad enough, but when he actually suggested putting all of the soon to be discarded embryos up for adoption as an alternative to destroying them my jaw dropped and my arms actually began to flap wildly. Why Russert and/or Cardin didn't jump all over this like ugly on an ape is beyond me! I have yet to hear anyone who opposes embryonic stem cell research come up with a good reason for not at least using embryos that would otherwise be discarded but Steele's response must surely take the cake.

Can't we just send all of these people who don't believe in evolution and don't believe in embryonic stem cell research back to the Dark Ages where they all belong?

Anonymous said...

The number of embryos currently in storage is probably well more than 500,000 (the 400,000 number is from 2002). Since the development of in-vitro fertilization, hundreds of thousand of embryos have already been destroyed. 60,000 IVF procedures are performed every year in the US. Each IVF patient has an average of 7 embryos in storage. Despite the huge number of unwanted embryos available, in the 25 year history of IVF, there have only been 119 "snowflake" babies born from "adopted" embryos (with another 20 on the way). That represents about 1 out of every 6000 embryos.

The fact is, nobody really wants to adopt a stranger's embryos, especially at a cost of $12,000 per implantation. Besides, does it make sense to adopt an embryo, when there are half a million living breathing children waiting for families to adopt them? Those who oppose embryonic research need to have their noses rubbed in their hypocrisy. You can not oppose stem cell research on moral grounds unless you also oppose IVF. Of course, no politician is going to advocate limiting a woman's right to employ extraordinary measures to bear children.

Anonymous said...

3:23 Ohmigod. Now you right wing people think an egg is a human too. Don't you know your eggs are not children until they connect with a sperm???????

Why is it that the right wing folks call an embryo taken from a womb an abortion and thus murder, when they have never forcefully complained about the destruction of the clinic embryos? Those clinics should be shut down immediately because they are abortion clinics, wouldn't you say?

Anonymous said...

9:33 3:23 said she'd connect her eggs with sperm. You misread. Of course, her idea is not original with her since the Catholic Church has always taught just that. And, if 3:23 feels that way I think that's exactly what she should do. We still live in a free country where one can reproduce or not as one sees fit. Let's keep it that way and keep the church out of our government.

Anonymous said...

I am 3:23 and I was kidding/being sarcastic about joining each and every one of my eggs with sperm. Jeez, you guys!! (Not that it wouldn't be joyous raunchy fun to try...)

Anonymous said...

Nice to see someone else feels that the pro-lifers need to own their value by adopting any child they save. They should be required to adopt five regardless of race, mental capacity, drug addiction, physical state AND they should have to do it WITHOUT the help of welfare, hard to place incentive money, WIC, Social Security, Medicaid, state adoption programs, church welfare etc, etc,. Impose those rules and see how many would stand up or run away!

Meanwhile, all you misinformed right-wingers out there, keep your bible from my reproductive choices and we'll get along just fine!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, is that the same Michael Steele, the republican that's been passing out "Steele Democrat" bumper stickers in a desperate move to not look like a republican?

Anonymous said...

"Pro-lifers" ignore the zillions of coffee, alcohol, and tobacco abortions that women flush away EVERY MONTH! Shouldn't these abortifacients be banned at least for "know-it-all" Catholics? Also, does anyone know if Steels's sister worked as a clerk at Marianne's Women Apparel on F St. in DC back in the 1980s? If so, "pro-life" golddigger Monica chased Catholic-disfigured me out of the store for being too ugly!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:53 PM... this has nothing to do with religious hypocrisy. Many people do not even know that fertility clinics currently dispose of healthy stem cells and 'let them die.' If they do not know this and only hear information about embryos being manipulated in research, then they are not hypocritical; they are merely looking at what they know.

Maybe it is ignorance but it is not hypocrisy. And I wouldn't even go so far as to accuse ignorancce, because we are all learning together and no one knows everything. I have been a Christian, and once I discovered that fertility clinics already disposed of embryos, then I understand the situation much better and things changed. Everyone goes through this, learning and realizing.

It is fruitless and rude to automatically call people hypocritical or ignorant when everyone is earnest and wishing to find solutions to these difficult issues.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, 10:49PM too many religious minions will take what's said at the pulpit and never look further into a situation. It's why they go to church on Sunday - to let others tell them how, when, what, where, and why so they don't have to do the work.

Don't believe that? Look around you the next time your there. How many are actually questioning what is being said?

Hypocritical or ignorant, they certainly aren't using critical thinking skills and detached observation.

Saving one christian at a time:-)

Anonymous said...

10:49 And, even if the uninformed in the congregation don't know what's going on, those very vocal, influencial and powerful leaders of the Evangelicals certainly know what's going on and they say nothing. Falwell is ready to blame homosexuals and women for 9:11 (he even blames God for being mean enough to kill innocents because of the "guilty") but hasn't now even whispered anything about the deaths of the embroyos he considers people, being "murdered". That's the hypocrisy even if every participant among the Evangelicans is not aware.