The bizarre story that got very little play the day that Curious George vetoed a bill that would have federally funded embryonic stem cell research was the "Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006."
The bill, sponsored by that intellectual giant, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, passed 100-0. The aim of the legislation was to "amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit the solicitation or acceptance of tissue from fetuses gestated for research purposes, and for other purposes."
I'll bet we are now all breathing a sigh of relief that we will not be creating a new line of designer embryos for our mad scientists to be experimenting on. Frankenstein will have to wait for a less godly House and Senate, I suppose.
It is obvious that this bill was introduced with the goal of diluting the reaction to the Bush veto, so that right-wing politicians would have another non-issue to appeal to their evangelical base. However, it is hard for pandering to be effective when you can't use the issue for divisive purposes. And how can one be divisive on an issue with 100% support?
Further, as Media Matters correctly reported, media handling of this was once again botched.
As Media Matters noted, coverage from the NY Times and CNN mentioned the passage of the legislation without mentioning that 'fetal farming' does not exist, nor has anyone proposed that it should. In the above link provided, Media Matters gives a pretty good history of the legislation and why it was introduced.
I chose to mention it today, because of the absurdist comments I noted when I checked out the website of Concerned Women for America (an ill-named group, if ever there was one). They specifically refer to the House bill, without mentioning Sen. Santorum and the Senate legislation.
From the CWA site comes the following:
"Concerned Women for America (CWA) commends President Bush and Congress for passing legislation known as The Fetus Farming Prohibition Act (H.R. 5719) introduced by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Florida). This life-saving legislation will prohibit the creation and development of humans in order to harvest organs, body parts and tissue for research.
"'The creation of pre-born children to extract their organs and tissue for experimentation may seem unreal, and yet it has already occurred with animals,' said Wendy Wright, CWA’s President. 'Creating human embryos for research was denounced until it was discovered that a fertility clinic was creating embryos solely to experiment upon. Cloning was universally denounced until it was announced that American scientists were attempting it. The time to ban scientific atrocities against helpless humans comes before unethical scientists work up their propaganda machines to claim that destroying human beings is justified to benefit science. Banning the inception of a pregnancy to obtain the baby’s tissues for research also protects women from being exploited, used as incubators.'
"'As the law stands, purchasing fetal tissue from an induced abortion is punishable by fines and/or up to 10 years imprisonment,' said Lanier Swann, CWA’s Director of Government Relations. 'Now these same penalties will be applied to anyone violating the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act.
"'The House has acknowledged and prevented the damage fetus farming could have done had it been allowed. Although the idea of harvesting humans for research sounds like science fiction, it is becoming a shocking reality. We praise representatives in the House for realizing that ethics should never be checked at the door in lofty hopes of advancing immoral scientific schemes.'"
Immoral scientific schemes?
I am so glad that, with all the global violence and hunger we are faced with, CWA was able to come up with an issue that they could sink their teeth (and claws) into.
I am willing to bet that the sheep that flock to them will reward them with more gold to line their concerned wallets with.
After all, isn't that the point?