Newsweek: Bush Dooming Thousands To Death?

In the July 31st edition of Newsweek, Senior Editor Jonathan Alter declared Bush's veto of stem cell funding "may well doom thousands to die prematurely," and blamed the decision on Bush's "inflexibility, obsession with his conservative base, religious arrogance and contempt for scientific consensus."

Alter began this week's column, entitled, "It Was A Veto Of A Lifetime," in ominous tones: "July 19, 2006, was a dark day for anyone who, like me, has experienced life-threatening illness. President Bush's veto of a modest bill that would have merely allowed surplus embryos from fertility clinics to be used for pathbreaking research instead of tossed in the garbage is more than a political blunder. And for those with a friend or relative who is sick - in other words, almost everyone—it is more than an abstraction. By slowing cures for several major diseases, this decision may well doom thousands to die prematurely. It contradicts the whole idea of what it means to be 'pro-life.'"

After Alter's redefinition of the "pro-life" stance he depicted a vote in favor of stem cell funding as "pro-cure" and against as "anti-cure. Alter then predicted defeat for those Republicans who failed to vote in favor of the bill: "At least some of the 193 House members and 37 senators who voted against the bill—almost all of them Republicans—may well lose their seats on this issue, if not this November then in 2008 or 2010. Once the "pro-cure" movement clarifies and penetrates, it will be awfully hard to stand firm against saving the lives of your constituents."

Alter also cast doubt on the numbers of snowflake babies that have been spared and then concluded his column with this final shot at Bush and religious conservatives: "The whole issue is emblematic of what's wrong with the Bush presidency: his inflexibility, obsession with his conservative base, religious arrogance and contempt for scientific consensus. Most of all, last week's decision betrayed his oft-stated belief in the sanctity of life. The question, as in all moral issues, is whose life? I'll choose yours or mine over a piece of protoplasm no larger than the period at the end of this sentence."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.