Frist’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Flip-Flop Hurts Prez Chances

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Frist’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Flip-Flop Hurts Prez Chances Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 29, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Last month, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist indicated he did not favor overturning President Bush’s position against expanded embryonic stem cell research funding "at this juncture." Frist’s flip-flop today could drastically affect his chances of securing the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Frist is retiring from the Senate after this term and it is widely believed he will run for the White House.

"I am pro-life," Frist said in his Friday speech. "I believe human life begins at conception. I also believe that embryonic stem cell research should be encouraged and supported."

Pro-life groups, however, say those two statements are contradictory.

"If Senator Frist moves forward and votes to expand funding for embryonic stem cell research he is betraying his core belief that life begins at conception," Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition said. "Senator Frist cannot have it both ways. He cannot be pro-life and pro-embryonic stem cell funding."

Frist "should not expect support and endorsement from the pro-life community if he votes for embryonic research funding" Mahoney added.

David Stevens, M.D., director of the 17,000 member Christian Medical Association also expressed disappointment in hearing of Senator Frist’s change of heart on embryonic stem cell research funding.

"We deeply regret Sen. Frist’s endorsement of an embryonic stem cell research policy that would turn living human beings into commodities for exploitation," Stevens said.

"As physicians, we understand the pressure to seek treatments from all possible sources, but we must remain committed to insuring that life-honoring ethics guide our decisions," Dr. Stevens added. The ends never justifies the means. Seeking cures for patients is an admirable goal, but it must never be done at the expense of other human lives."

Lanier Swann, Concerned Women for America’s director of government relations, says she was surprised Senator Frist claimed embryonic stem cell research has better prospects that the use of adult stem cells.

"While embryonic stem cell research has yet to yield one result, more than 65 diseases have already been successfully treated through the safe and morally unquestionable research of adult stem cells," Swann said.

"Adult stem-cell research offers the promise of cures, not the mere ‘dream’ Frist spoke of today," she added.