July 23, 2006

Politics: Preserving the Dignity of Biohazardous Materials


So if abortion is murder, the "morning after pill" is murder, discarding frozen embryos is murder, using frozen embryos is murder, birth control is preemptive murder, and male mastrubation makes Jesus cry, why aren't all the people doing these things in prison? If you want to hear what flop sweat sounds like, here's Josh Bolten trying to explain why it is that if you don't think it's murder, then go ahead and harvest those blastocycts, baby! An interesting governmental stance, that, and I'm wondering if it could apply to anything else the federal government thinks is a crime...?

The running excuse so far has been to say that the only presidential veto used by George W. Bush was to stop "the incenting or new destruction of fertilized embryos." This means that no federal money would go to any group that wished to harvest fertilized eggs from women for research. The problem with this excuse is that the US Senate already shot down that proposal 100 - 0. You read that right: ZERO members voted in favour of any money going to that variant of research.


So if that wasn't what the veto was used on, how was it used? It was used on a bill that proposed funding be granted to reseachers who wished to use already frozen embryos that are currently in fertility clinics and due to be destroyed. There are many reasons why such embryos are destroyed, the most common of which being that the couple who were using the clinic to help them with their pregancy have decided not to have any more children. The children who result from frozen embryos are nicknamed "snowflakes", perhaps because (as Jon Stewart pointed out about Bush's news conference) no two were alike, and they are all so very white. Personally, I like the name one commenter at Sadly, No! used:

  1. tigrismus said,

    July 22, 2006 at 1:11

    Like little Godberries. Sweet, juicy little, wait, what?

And then there was Senator Brownback. Okay, seriously: doesn't "Brownback" sound like the next santorum? Almost certainly a verb, though: brownbacking. Man, I don't even want to think about definitions for that...

Anyhow, about the senator. He decided that a big hand drawn image of some frowning, talking, and just maybe dancing Godberries would be just the thing to sway his fellow senators from supporting the bill. He also explained how an egg is actually an eagle, and encouraged people to adopt some of these embroys. He doesn't bother mentioning the 118,000 kids that are currently awaiting adoption in America, of course. This fits perfectly with the party line: people only matter until they're born. He's got a lot of work to do if he wants all the current Godberries to be adopted, though: so far, 0.032% of the 400,000 frozen embryos have been adopted.

To reiterate the US government's apparent position:

remaining embryos used for research by publicly funded scientists = murder;
remaining embryos used by privately or corporate funded researchers = not murder;
remaining embryos discarded as biohazardous material = ...?

It's not like the question is new to this administration; but it would have been nice for it to have been thought about at some time in the past four years. Perhaps that would be a question for either of the White House's two Ethics Advisors, or maybe the Director for Lessons Learned, or even for the Director of Fact Checking.

And yes, those are real, salaried positions. Before looking, guess which of those four gets paid the least?

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posted by Thursday at 5:43 pm


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