President Bush deserves strong support for the veto he will cast today against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act that passed the Senate last night and went to his desk this morning.
White House spokesman Tony Snow framed the issue perfectly at yesterday’s press briefing. “What the President has said is that he doesn’t want human life destroyed,” said Snow. “The President believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He’s one of them.”
“The simple answer is he thinks murder’s wrong,” said Snow.
This is precisely the point. On the Senate floor last year, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Harvard Medical School graduate, explained the basic science at the foundation of Bush’s analysis. “I believe human life begins at conception,” Frist said. “It is at this moment that the organism is complete — yes, immature — but complete. An embryo is nascent human life. It is genetically distinct. And it is biologically human. It is living. This position is consistent with my faith. But, to me, it isn’t just a matter of faith. It is a fact of science.”
If, as First attests, an embryo is a human life, than, as Bush insists, deliberately killing a human embryo is murder.
The immediate question in the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act was not whether this form of murder ought to be outlawed, but whether Americans ought to be taxed to provide money to researchers who commit it.
Bush is taking a consistent and courageous stand on principle by saying loudly and clearly: No.
Remarkably, Frist gave sanction to what he himself describes as taking of human life, when he joined with 62 other senators in saying: Yes.
The majority of Republican senators (36 of 55) said: No.
Neither the Senate nor the House will be able to muster the votes to override President Bush’s veto.
Bravo to Bush for defending the sanctity of human life in casting his first presidential veto.