Human Exceptionalism

My 2001 Article on “Frist Principles”

I will be doing the Tony Snow radio program tomorrow during the 11 o’clock hour (EST) and we will be talking stem cells. I have no doubt that Senator Frist will come up, so I looked up an old column of mine from 2001 about the “Frist Principles,” which the senator suggested serve as an overarching guide to ESCR.

Much of what I wrote still holds up. For example, I predicted that limiting ESCR to leftover IVF embryos would never hold: “We [opponents of federal funding] have also argued that the IVF-barrier argument is actually a bait and switch tactic to desensitize the people to the harvesting human life. Once that slide down the slippery slope is accomplished, we believe, scientists will quickly shift to making human embryos for the purpose of destruction and harvest in human experimentation and will eventually push for federal funding of human cloning.”

I was exactly right. Therapeutic cloning is all the rage today and the New York Times recently editorialized in favor of federally funding it. In California, Proposition 71 will dole out hundreds of millions of taxpayer (borrowed) dollars into cloning research.

Back to Frist: As I wrote the other day, by merely supporting federal funding of ESCR without also insisting on adoption of the rest of his “principles,” Frist has simply surrendered his principles. I ended that old column by asking, “Who is the real Sen. Bill Frist? We will soon find out.” Indeed, we have.