Saturday, August 06, 2005

Frist sinks in quicksand on stem cell issue

Tony Snow says it correctly in his latest column, this one about Sen. Frist's new position on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research:

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

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.

I wouldn't say that Frist is out of the race for the presidency yet. After all...look who is main competitors are: Giuliani and McCain, both with serious flaws when it comes to attracting the Christian right in the Republican party. Unless a Brownback or someone with more conservative values rises to the challenge, Frist may wind up being the lesser of three evils. If Hillary is the Democratic candidate, Republicans of all stripes will rise to back her opponent.


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