The Corner

Minority Leader Barton? I Think Not.

He’s rumored to be throwing his hat in the Minority Leader ring. Maybe, at least one source says, as soon as tomorrow.

I’ll be happy to make it a personal cause that he doesn’t become leader — most especially,when a right to human cloning was voted a constitutional right in Missouri, it just cannot be.

Quick flashback to May 2005, to one of the worst arguments for embryo-destroying research that I’ve heard:

Well, I accept and support that an embryo is a life. I agree with the gentleman from New Jersey [Republican Rep. Mike Ferguson] that we were all embryos once. I understand that. And, obviously, at seven days or fourteen days, embryos do not have consciousness. They do not have free will. They do not have the neural cells or brain cells to make a decision whether they want to voluntarily make a sacrifice. I understand that.

But I would say this: If they did, out of the 400,000 that we think may be in existence, if you narrow that down to the 2.8 percent that the gentleman from Texas [House Majority Leader Tom DeLay] talked about that are probably not going to be used for reproductive purposesif they did, would not some of them, knowing the stakes, volunteer? It only takes one, the right one, that magic silver bullet embryo that creates that magic stem cell that can be replicated into any of the 200 cell lines that make up the human body.

If I had that opportunity, might I not take advantage of it? Somebody would. And since they cannot, because they do not have consciousness, under a traditional law in this United States of America we give custody to the parents. A parent will make a decision at some point in time, or a family member will make a decision at some point in time that perhaps they do not want to put up for adoption, which is the decision I would make.

Why not? In addition to the cord blood bill that we have just passed, why not make it possible for some of these under the conditions in the Castle-DeGette bill for some to be used for research purposes. It does not take many. I respect those who say, no, you cannot do it at all. But I also say given a choice, let us err on the side of opportunity. That is why I am going to vote yes.


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