Monday, March 16, 2009

Bill Clinton's Disturbing Ignorance on Embryos

I came across this video on Friday via the Corner and Jill Stanek. Here Bill Clinton claims that President Obama's decision to fund embryonic stem cell research is "Pro Life" because the embryos scientists will use have not been fertilized. I can't quite believe this statement. You don't need to be a scientist to know that by definition all embryos have been fertilized - this is like grade 8 health class. If fertilization never happened there would be no embryo, just an unfertilized ovum (egg) and there would be no issue. BUT these embryos have been fertilized AND have 100% of their genetic potential. In fact, if the embryos were successfully implanted into a host mother they would be born in about 9 months. That's how in vitro fertilization IVF works.

So, Why would Bill Clinton make such a statement? A lot of the commentary that I've read right now finds this video humorous from a kind of ironic way I guess. I find it extremely disturbing that a man who was President of the United States for 8 years and had to make life or death decisions on this issue would either (a) simply not know what he's talking about or (b) have been able to go through enough mental gymnastics that he can convince himself of a 'fact' that we know is not true.

Transcript by Jill Stanek.

Gupta: Let's talk about something you talked a lot about in the early part of your presidency, stem cells. There was an order today providing federal money for embryonic stem cell research. First of all, let me just ask you, as someone who studied this, is this going to always be as divisive an issue as it is now? Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation? Or are people going to come around?

Clinton: I think - the answer is I think that we'll work it through. If - particularly if it's done right. 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....

Gupta: Any reservations?

Clinton: I don't know that I have any reservations, but I was - he has apparently decided to leave to the relevant professional committees the definition of which frozen embryos are basically going to be discarded, because they're not going to be 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....

But those committees need to be really careful to make sure if they don't want a big
storm to be stirred up here, that any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use. There are a large number of embryos that we know are never going to be fertilized, where the people who are in control of them have made that clear. The research ought to be confined to those....

But there are values involved that we all ought to feel free to discuss in all scientific research. And that is the one thing that I think these committees need to make it clear that they're not going to fool with any embryos where there's any possibility, even if it's somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings.


Julie Culshaw said...

If Clinton is this ignorant, I really want to know what Obama thinks about embryos. He may be just as uninformed. Clinton sounds as if he has never read anything on this subject at all. As you say, this is 8th grade stuff.

Now, if someone at this level can be this ignorant, what can we assume about the general population? The pro life movement should have education as #1 on their agenda, since most people simply do not know the basic facts about life.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Julie, I think you're bang on.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Julie, I think you're bang on.