In his floor speech in favor of H.R. 810, anti-abortion Democrat Jim Langevin said,
"To me, being pro-life also means fighting for policies that will eliminate pain and suffering and help people enjoy longer, healthier lives. And to me, support for embryonic stem cell research is entirely consistent with that position. What could be more life-affirming than using what otherwise would be discarded to save, extend and improve countless lives?"
Another usually prolife Representative who voted for H.R. 810 is Jo Ann Emerson, who was supported by the Susan B. Anthony List. This article says,
"Who can say that prolonging a life is not pro-life?" said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (news, bio, voting record), R-Mo., who said she had a "perfect" pro-life record and whose mother-in-law had died the night before of Alzheimer's disease.
"I must follow my heart on this and cast a vote in favor," she said.
Stand to Reason has a great technique to use when discussing abortion with pro-choicers called Trot out the Toddler. This technique allows you to get the discussion of abortion focused on the most important question of the debate: What is the Unborn?
With politicians who are usually prolife but in favor of embryonic stem cell research, I think we need to Trot Out the Fetus.
Imagine this hypothetical: Scientists discover that miniature organs from 12 week old fetuses can be grown in the lab to make organs that could replace the organs of adults who need transplants. This breakthrough could dramatically prolong the lives of people who are desperately waiting for hearts, kidneys, livers, etc. But to get these mini-organs and grow them we need to take them from fetuses who will die in the process. The organs have to be removed via surgery from a fetus who is living at the time of the removal so organs can't be taken from the remains of an already aborted child. The removal of the organs will unfortunately kill the child. But the child was going to die anyway because the mothers have already decided to have an abortion. Women would only be approached for their consent regarding the fetal organ removal after they decided to go thru with the abortion and their informed consent would be necessary. Should the research involving growing these mini-organs removed from living human fetuses receive federal funding?
How would Langevin or Emerson respond? Would they say that growing organs removed from living human fetuses is prolife? Maybe, but I doubt it.
If they wouldn't want tax dollars to pay for this research, I'd ask why? What could they possibly say about fetal organ removal and growth that would make them opposed to it yet be in favor of embryonic stem cell removal and embryonic stem cell research?
The real question in the debate over embryonic stem cell research isn't "Are they going to die anyway?" or "Can this research prolong life?" Those are mere shades of rhetoric to get around the reality that prolife people who are in favor of embryonic stem cell research are violating numerous prolife principles. The real question is "What are Human Embryos?" Are these human embryos valuable, distinct human beings like human fetuses? Or do they lose their value because they are smaller and less developed than human fetuses? People who claim to be prolife yet favor embryonic stem cell research and its federal funding discriminate against human embryos in the same way that pro-choice people discriminate against all unborn children.
For people who oppose abortion yet are in favor of embryonic stem cell research and the federal funding of it, what is the difference between killing embryos for their stem cells and killing fetuses for their organs?