Stem Cell Silence from Dem Presidentials
Couldn’t Even Fake It, Huh?
By Mark I Posted in 2008 | Barack Obama | Embryonic Stem Cell Research | ethical alternatives | Hillary Clinton | stem cells — Comments (27) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Yesterday’s breakthrough announcement on ethical stem cell research was greeted by statements of praise and skepticism from politicos from the White House, to Capitol Hill, to the campaign trail. But there was a curious silence from the Democratic presidential candidates. Not one issued a press release or made so much as a passing comment on the news. A search of the online news rooms for each of the candidates produced no mentions of stem cells, not even among the lesser candidates who might have used the news to try and draw attention to their campaigns.
These Democrats are the ones who claim to have so much compassion for the suffering and afflicted and who label their political opponents as heartless and cruel. So, why the silence on this advancement? In some cases it could be because the campaigns are seeking a way to appear to praise the announcement while not offending embryonic stem cell research advocates among the their supporters. For Sen. Hillary!™ Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, it may be because in a crucial vote for ethical stem cell alternatives taken earlier this year, they voted no.
The HOPE Act was introduced by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) in March of this year and was passed by the Senate in April by a vote of 70-28. Three of the Democratic presidential candidates voted on the legislation. Only Sen. Joe Biden voted in favor. Sen. Chris Dodd did not vote; and Clinton and Obama voted no.
The stated purposes of the Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research, or HOPE, Act are to:
(1) intensify research that may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions; and
(2) promote the derivation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation of human embryos for research purposes and without the destruction or discarding of, or risk of injury to, a human embryo or embryos other than those that are naturally dead.
In other words, the HOPE Act’s purpose was to support and promote the very same kind of research that resulted in the breakthrough announced yesterday. It cannot be said that the act led to the result, however, clearly those who voted no on the act cannot reasonably claim to support the result. If Clinton and Obama had their way, yesterday’s research result might never have happened at all.
The HOPE Act is not yet law. It is currently sitting in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Clinton and Obama will probably argue that their votes didn’t prevent anything, since the Act has yet to be enacted. But their votes do explain their thinking.
Clinton and Obama are all for cures for sick and injured people, as long as it benefits them politically. In this case, there is no political upside for the candidates to embrace the results announced yesterday. If they do, they expose themselves to charges of flip-flopping and hypocrisy. It’s better to stay silent. Because in the end, it’s not really about cures for diseases, it’s about votes and about beating Bush.