Thursday, May 26, 2005

Frist Flip-Flops on Stem Cells

July 18, 2001: Senator Bill Frist, speaking on the Senate floor:

"There are basically 10 points I think we must consider, and I have proposed an answer. Again, I don't know the answer, and I struggle, like every person, on this particular issue to make sure we have the appropriate moral considerations. But I will outline what my 10 points are. ...

No. 5, provide funding for embryonic stem cell research only from blastocysts that would otherwise be discarded. We need to allow Federal funding for research using only those embryonic stem cells derived from blastocysts that are left over after in vitro fertilization and would otherwise be discarded."

Here are the PDFs of the two pages from the Congressional Record containing this speech [first, second]. The full text of the press release is available here, on the webpage run by Tennessee Right to Life, which was rather unhappy with the position Frist took. More here, on the page of the Republican National Coalition for Life, which headlines "Senator Frist Endorses Killing Human Embryos."

Senator Frist, I would suggest you read H.R. 810 and its Senate companion, S. 471 [PDF here]. It includes the qualification "Prior to the consideration of embryo donation and through consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment, it was determined that the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded."

But now Majority Leader Frist is stalling on bringing S. 471 to the floor of the Senate.

What changed, Senator?

[Update: New information on this story here. -- 27 May, 7:40 a.m.]

[Update: If you're linking directly to this post, please make sure to check out the multiple updates I'm posting here. -- 27 May, 9:34 a.m.]

[Update: Well, Frist has decided not to flip, after all. Look at that. -- 29 July, 6:25 p.m.]


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