In Senator Frist's speech last week supporting destructive embryonic stem cell research, he outlined the criteria for the embryos that could be slated for destructive research:
1. are created for the purpose of fertility treatments;
2. are no longer needed by those who received the treatments;
3. would otherwise be discarded and destroyed;
4. are donated for research with the written, informed consent of those who received the fertility treatments, but do not receive financial or other incentives for their donations.
Frist states earlier in the same speech that he believes a human being exists from conception, as a matter of science - and they have an ethical status. So what justifies destroying these human beings for experimentation? Look at the second and third criteria - they are unwanted. Who else uses being wanted as an ethical consideration to justify destroying the unborn? Pro-abortionists.
It's very odd to me that a normally pro-life advocate would adopt a justification used to justify abortion. But he's not the first. Orin Hatch has done the same. How does being unwanted change the moral status of these tiniest of human beings any more than it does a baby more fully formed before birth - or for that matter, after birth? It makes me wonder why these Senators are pro-life in the first place. Frist's moral logic is utterly confused and contradictory.
The Weekly Standard expounds on this inconsistency and the blow Frist's speech was for a coherent ethical position because he's strengthened the hand of those who endorse cloning embryos for destructive research:
"The incoherence of Frist's position is staggering. In his Senate speech, he explained that the 'embryo is a human life at its earliest stage of development.' He said that he believes, as a person of faith and a man of science, that "human life begins at conception." He reminded us that 'we were all once embryos.' He called on all citizens, including scientists, to treat human embryos with the "utmost dignity and respect." It was a clear and elegant statement on the dignity of early human life, backed up by a doctor's understanding of elementary embryology.
"But then, as if giving a different speech, Frist called on the federal government to promote, with taxpayer dollars, the ongoing destruction of human embryos. In a television interview that day, he said that research using and destroying the 'spares' can be done ethically so long as there is a 'moral framework around informed consent.' But if embryos deserve respect as nascent human lives, as Frist says he believes, it should not matter whether researchers have permission from their parents to destroy them. If embryos are 'human life at its earliest stage,' as Frist says he believes, then none of us possesses the authority to consent to their destruction. To promote embryo destruction and still claim to be 'pro-life,' as Frist did throughout his speech, is absurd."