Bill Clinton Shows His Ignorance on Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Biology

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bill Clinton Shows His Ignorance on Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Biology

by Maria Vitale Editorial Columnist
March 12, 2009 Note: Maria Vitale is an editorial opinion columnist for She is the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.

So, there’s the former leader of the free world, ex-President Bill Clinton, discussing embryonic stem cell research with CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Given Clinton’s unapologetically pro-abortion stand, it wasn’t surprising that the former Chief Executive would embrace federal funding for destructive embryonic stem cell research.

But the more Clinton talked, the more apparent it was that he did not know what he was talking about.

“…If it’s obvious that we’re not taking embryos that can – that under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies, and I think if it’s obvious that we’re not talking about some science fiction cloning of human beings, then I think the American people will support this….” Clinton said.

Over and over during the course of the interview, Clinton falsely indicated that embryos are not fertilized:

“I believe the American people believe it’s a pro-life decision to use an embryo that’s frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research….”

The level of misunderstanding displayed by Clinton is amazing. Here is an educated individual, the country’s former CEO, who cannot distinguish between an embryo and an egg.

If Clinton, with all his resources and contacts, does not know the basics of embryonic stem cell research, how can we expect the average person to have a grasp of the issue? Particularly when news outlets such as CNN disseminate false information about the process.

We were all embryos once. The only difference between a human embryo and an adult is degree of development. As members of the human family, embryos deserve as much protection as the rest of us—even more so, given their vulnerable status in the world.

The CNN interview shows that even Clinton has some reservations about experimenting on a human being after fertilization. Public opinion polls may show that Americans support embryonic stem cell research, but the question is: Do they really know what it is? And, if they did, would they have some qualms about it?

I’ve encountered people who, though ardently pro-life on abortion, are greatly confused about stem cell research. While President Barack Obama’s decision to remove limits on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is tragic, it’s also a teachable moment.

The President has spoken on this issue, but perhaps many Americans haven’t because they still don’t understand it. It’s not too late to educate about the hazards of embryonic stem cell research, and the successes of adult stem cell research.

Even Presidents, apparently, need more education on the issue.

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