Winning with Life = Speaking Clearly

Among the first targets of the incoming administration, most observers expect, is the policy handed down by Pres. Bush in August, 2001, disqualifying from federal funding any experiments sacrificing embryonic human beings.

It was seen at the time as a controversial policy, but it carefully followed an ethical standard and has served both the taxpayers and the legitimate research community well. Without the Bush policy, federally funded bioscientists would still be spinning wheels trying to find a sunbeam in a blizzard, chasing wild geese instead of developing actual therapies and cures through ethical adult stem cell research.

Why would the incoming President be expected to overturn the policy? The quixotic quest of embryo sacrifice still enjoys political support on the Left, for one thing. And for another, because he can.

The Bush policy was executed through Presidential executive order, hence it can be overturned with the stroke of a pen, and if the most recent Democrat in the White House is any example, it could well be repealed within 48 hours of the Jan. 20 inauguration.

For the pro-life community, such an action presents a stunning challenge. Embryo vivisection is so offensive to the root principle of the pro-life movement – that human beings are persons worthy of 14th Amendment protection from the moment of their conception – that a response must be mounted, most likely in the Congressional arena.

The prospect for immediate success for such a response is remote, to say the least. Yet it must be undertaken, for those who are committed to the cause of Life cannot acquiesce in being forced – by taxation – to underwrite what amounts to Nazi medicine.

A vigorous, sustained campaign will be required of the pro-life community both inside and outside Congress to enact a statutory ban on the sacrifice of embryonic humans.

Though both ethics and practical considerations are all on the side of pursuing adult stem cell research and not diverting resources to goose chasing, the battle presents a unique challenge to the pro-life movement, that challenge being to overcome the wrong foot on which the movement has stood throughout the history of the “stem cell research” controversy.

Frustrated that “it’s tough for voters to see the distinction between adult stem cells and embryonic,” pro-life lobbyists and leaders have yet to figure out that it’s their job to help voters see those distinctions and that such a goal requires them to speak distinctly, persuasively and strategically. The pro-life movement must stop using the rhetoric of the utilitarian scientists and the euphemists in this battle.

The unengaged public will not be alerted, informed or moved by such phrases as “embryonic stem cell research.” The very use of the term “research,” when applied to utilitarian experimentation, is reassuring and misleading. Did the civilized world, upon discovering the atrocities being committed by Nazi scientists, use the positive term “research” to identify their actions? Why do so many – nearly everyone – in the pro-life community adopt the language of the latterday Nazistic scientists to identify this issue? Because the media call it “research?” Do we call a developing, prenatal baby a “fetus?”

And how does reference to “embryonic stem cells” help the uninitiated listener or reader to recognize that a life is at stake? Many more expressive terms can substitute: Embryo vivisection, embryo killing, embryo sacrifice – or better, in our view – the killing (or vivisection or sacrifice) of an embryonic human being. Choose one or two or use them all alternatively, but why use the terminology of the Frankensteinians?

To overcome the expected Obama policy of forcibly extracting our tax dollars for redistribution to the labcoat lobby, we must move the public to recognize what is at stake. Moving the public requires development of our own, precise, descriptive, accurate language to identify the issue, and that requires us to abandon, consistently and assiduously, the language which has cost us this debate in the past. It was only the determined courage of Pres. George W. Bush that has thus far pushed down the lid on Pandora’s box, certainly not an act of Congress nor the effective cry of the pro-life movement.

That protection is soon gone; now it is up to us. Can the pro-life movement take on this issue? And will we do so in a way that defines it properly and protects our adherents in the legislative branch who are casting the courageous votes? We’ll see.