Wednesday, July 19, 2006

President Bush's First Veto: Right on Target

[From The New York Times]

Published: July 19, 2006

Following is President Bush's veto message to the House of Representatives:I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 810, the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005."

Like all Americans, I believe our Nation must vigorously pursue the tremendous possibilities that science offers to cure disease and improve the lives of millions. Yet, as science brings us ever closer to unlocking the secrets of human biology, it also offers temptations to manipulate human life and violate human dignity. Our conscience and history as a Nation demand that we resist this temptation. With the right scientific techniques and the right policies, we can achieve scientific progress while living up to our ethical responsibilities.

In 2001, I set forth a new policy on stem cell research that struck a balance between the needs of science and the demands of conscience. When I took office, there was no Federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Under the policy I announced 5 years ago, my Administration became the first to make Federal funds available for this research, but only on embryonic stem cell lines derived from embryos that had already been destroyed. My Administration has made available more than $90 million for research of these lines. This policy has allowed important research to go forward and has allowed America to continue to lead the world in embryonic stem cell research without encouraging the further destruction of living human embryos.

H.R. 810 would overturn my Administration's balanced policy on embryonic stem cell research. If this bill were to become law, American taxpayers for the first time in our history would be compelled to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos. Crossing this line would be a grave mistake and would needlessly encourage a conflict between science and ethics that can only do damage to both and harm our Nation as a whole.

Advances in research show that stem cell science can progress in an ethical way. Since I announced my policy in 2001, my Administration has expanded funding of research into stem cells that can be drawn from children, adults, and the blood in umbilical cords with no harm to the donor, and these stem cells are currently being used in medical treatments. Science also offers the hope that we may one day enjoy the potential benefits of embryonic stem cells without destroying human life. Researchers are investigating new techniques that might allow doctors and scientists to produce stem cells just as versatile as those derived from human embryos without harming life. We must continue to explore these hopeful alternatives, so we can advance the cause of scientific research while staying true to the ideals of a decent and humane society.

I hold to the principle that we can harness the promise of technology without becoming slaves to technology and ensure that science serves the cause of humanity. If we are to find the right ways to advance ethical medical research, we must also be willing when necessary to reject the wrong ways. For that reason, I must veto this bill.

July 19, 2006.

For more on a sane, biblical view of bioethics, read Gilbert Meilaender, Bioethics, 2nd edition (Eerdmans).


anita said...

God Bless you George Bush!

Clint said...

I was definitley very pleased as I watched this earlier today. Way to go George!

Susan said...

I wrote a bit on this today too

Fletcher said...

Susan - Your comments are excellent.

Yes, with our God-given endowments we can be both smart and ethical all at once. Duh!


tobin said...

In the last paragraph, I remember him saying, "...and ensure that science serves the cause of humanity" and then making a statement to the effect of "and not the other way around." Whether or not I'm correct, the idea of humanity serving the cause of science has serious and horrifying implications. It's great to see this veto!

BJ the Tornado said...

Yes, I couldn't agree more with the veto and it was quite pleasing (for once) to see the argument presented eloquently and articulately from this adminstration.

Frankly, I just wish I had more to cheer about from this adminstration -- instead of countless mistakes, wrong decisions, and bad positions that hurt our country and (even worse) many people's impression of what Christianity is and stands for. So I'm afraid this is still too little too late in my book on old George.

But I won't ruin the good moment: this was the right thing to do and I am proud Bush did it -- and did it the way he did -- actually making the case for WHY bioethics is important and WHY we must value human life (particularly the "least of these").
I am proud of the intelligent articulation of this defense I can only hope it will move some people to rethink their stance on this issue (and all other "human life" issues). Also, I know this veto took courage and bravery to do in the face of much opposition even from his own party. So on this one I'll add to the praise and say bravo George.

And, yes, that really is an excellent line:

"[We must] ensure that science serves the cause of humanity... and not the other way around."


Douglas Groothuis said...


You didn't vote for Kerry did you?

BJ the Tornado said...

Dr. G,

of course not. Kerry does not support a certain portion of the human population's right to life. I could not, therefore, in good conscience vote for him.

But I certainly could not in good conscience vote for Bush either.

(BTW, I also feel it IS a moral obligation to vote (especially as a Christian) and so I ended up writting someone in)

I'll put it back to you:
You didn't vote for Bush did you?

Douglas Groothuis said...

Of course I did. Writing something in on the ballot just takes a vote away from someone who could win.

BJ the Tornado said...

Ah yes, the whole "wasted vote" argument for why Christians should compromise our voice in the public square.

You must be refering to that little known 8th Article of the constitution where the founding fathers decided we are a two-party system -- so voting for anyone besides one of the two parties in power is a waste.

Perhaps the person I wrote in did not have a great shot at winning... or even a snowball's chance in hell of winning. But my vote represented my beliefs as a Christian. A vote for Kerry OR a vote for Bush would have been (in my opinion) a vote that could not in good conscience represent my Christian ethics in the public square. Thus I chose to stand up for my Christian principles OVER my desire for political expediency. Imagine if all the Christians in the US did that. Imagine if the Christians in this nation stood up to the GOP (and the Dems) and said, "You don't own our vote."

Dr. G, you know I hold you in absolutely the highest respect. And (although I disagree) I respect your choice to vote for Bush. But it sounds to me like you are arguing that I should have voted for Bush because otherwise my vote would have been wasted. And that is just a bad argument.

Here's the Reductio:

Imagine in the next election the Dems put up Candidate Jones and the Repubs put up Candidate Smith. It turns out Smith and Jones are both active KKK members. They also both have been divorced 8 times and currently they each have multiple mistresses. They each think that the best course of action for us to pursue in foreign affairs is for the US to invade Mongolia and take over their underground oil reserves for our own uses. Also they each are heroine addicts. Asside from everything I just mentioned, they each follow their respective party lines on all fronts (i.e. Jones is pro-choice, pro-union, pro-environment, anti-big business, etc, etc and Smith is pro-life/anti-abortion, in favor of tax cuts, strong on defense, etc, etc, etc).

Then comes the election and those two candidates are on the ballot representing the GOP and the Dems.
Guess what? I'd write someone in
"But BJ!!," some of my Christian friends would exclaim, "you didn't vote for Jones did you!!" I'd say, "Of course not." But when I explain to them that I also didn't vote for Smith, they respond, "Writing something in on the ballot just takes a vote away from someone who could win. You wasted your vote."



Douglas Groothuis said...

False analogy, TornaTo. There is no way that Bush in that evil KKK category. If both candidates are incorrigibly evil, then vote for neither out of protest. But I did not see the 2004 election in that category.

Moreover, a vote for Bush was be a pro-life vote: no govenment funding for stem cells, no veto of partial birth abortion bans (as Clinton did twice), and pro-life Supreme Court judges. How can you vote against that by wasting a vote?

BJ the Tornado said...

It wasn't an analogy so it can't be a false analogy. It was a reductio ad absurdum -- taking your basic premise and seeing if an absurdity arises. One did. I never suggested Bush (or Kerry) were on the KKK evil level or anything like that -- again, it wasn't an analogy, but a reductio.

My point was that voting for someone besides the two primary candidates is NOT a wasted vote, but a vote on principal. And I certainly did not vote AGAINST "no govenment funding for stem cells, no veto of partial birth abortion bans (as Clinton did twice), and pro-life Supreme Court judges" by "wasting my vote" as you claim I did. NOT voting for Bush does not constitute NOT voting for those things. The person I did vote for (the write-in) is very passionately pro-life (as you know I am). So I did, in fact, vote for those very same things. (Like you did in voting for Bush). I, however, did not also vote for a whole myriad of things that Bush does that do not closely enough reflect my Christian ethics (some of his positions, I beleive, are WAY off the Christian ethic, in fact). YOUR vote, while, yes, was a vote for the pro-life issues you mention, was also a vote for those positions Bush takes that are antithetical to Christian values. Mine vote was not.

Your claim that I voted "against that by wasting a vote" is the logical fallacy here.

Douglas Groothuis said...

By failing to give a viable pro-life candidate your vote (Bush), you did vote against him. You failed to support him. You voted for one of his rivals, in fact. So, you voted against him. You took one vote away from him.

I think your argument depends on a false analogy in order to make the reductio.

Fletcher said...

A vote for Bush saves lives - simple enough.

Not everything his administration has done has been perfect, no president ever has been or will be.

However, I am interested in partaking of saving those whom are defenseless and made in God's image.

Kerry stated that it "wasn't his right to impose his opinions on others" when it came to abortion, and in the same breath claims to be a Catholic?? So what or who would he stand for if not the last and the least? A vote for Bush went FOR life, and AGAINST death (Kerry).