The day before Tuesday's U.S. Senate vote backing embryonic stem-cell research, Republican Sam Brownback appeared with several Snowflakes, the name given to children born from frozen embryos. It was a lovely tableau, proof of the wisdom of kissing every baby on the campaign trail.
With polls showing a large majority of Americans favoring federal funds for such research, Snowflakes are the last redoubt of a minority of a minority within the Republican Party adamantly opposed to it.
President George W. Bush mounted a similar pageant at the White House before a House vote in May 2005 to expand federal funding, his little guests wearing T-shirts saying, "This embryo was not discarded.''
That's true for his T-shirt-wearing visitors and about 125 others born of `"adopted'' embryos, those left after couples undergoing fertility treatments have had their children and no longer need the extra embryos produced as backup. Yet they're a fraction of those approximately 400,000 unimplanted specks -- with the feelings, soul and brains of a gnat -- at clinics across the country that the Senate bill would rescue for research.
Bush yesterday exercised his first-ever veto to stop that from happening, an action that spokesman Tony Snow explained was motivated by a conviction that "murder's wrong.''
No argument there. But if salvaging a few embryos to be used in research is murder, what is the production of thousands of embryos destined for destruction?
Read my whole column here.