Monday, 15 January 2007
Standing in a crowded room of Joe Donnelly supporters at the UAW Local 685 just two weeks after the newly elected Congressman had won his seat, my presence was no doubt a surprise to some. After all, I had actively supported Donnelly’s opponent, former Congressman Chris Chocola, in what had become a bitter contest between the two. Yet, the Donnelly victory party had been advertised as open to the public, and I wanted the opportunity to meet the new representative from Indiana’s second district.
Though provoking a few startled glances, I felt very welcome at the event and eventually had the opportunity to meet Donnelly. Our conversation was brief, but lasted long enough for him to thank me for coming and to assure me that though we might not see eye to eye all the time, he was determined to change the tone of partisanship that had come to plague Washington. I told him I appreciated that, and turned to walk away. As I did, the Congressman grabbed my arm and said, “You do know that I’m pro-life, don’t you?” I replied that I knew he had campaigned as such, and that I would be praying he would remain that way when he arrived in Congress and faced the inevitable political pressures to compromise his convictions.
Last Thursday, Congressman Donnelly faced those pressures for the first time, and passed with flying colors.
House Resolution 3, the so-called Stem Cell Research Enhancement Bill of 2007, came to the floor of the House as part of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s first 100 hours agenda. The bill, if signed into law, would radically increase federal funding for this controversial practice of destroying human life for the sake of extracting stem cells for research.
The hysteria the left has created surrounding embryonic stem cell research is a smoke-and-mirrors routine designed to create false hope in desperate people in exchange for votes and political power. There’s a word for that type of politicking…despicable. Despite years of research, embryonic stem cells have failed to produce one cure, one therapy, even one potential treatment for any disease, malady, or illness. But listening to the left around election time, that tidbit of reality never seems to make the campaign commercials.
Meanwhile, amazing medical miracles are being achieved through ethical adult stem cell research, which does not treat human life as a crop (for planting, harvesting, and discarding). Whereas the total number of clinical trials for embryonic stem cell treatments is a whopping zero, adult stem cell treatments currently stand at 1,229 according to Carrie Gordon Earll, a bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action.
Further, a recent study from researchers at Wake Forest and Harvard reveals that stem cells derived from the amniotic fluid surrounding live humans in the womb (as well as the afterbirth) are amazingly flexible and may offer the best hope yet for finding cures and treatments.
As Earll astutely observed, it is sadly ironic that while medical science continues to demonstrate human embryos are much more valuable to us alive rather than dead, the Democrat controlled Congress is actively pursuing laws that will destroy them for nothing more than the advancement of a political agenda.
But it is that insatiable quest on the part of Nancy Pelosi and the leadership of Congressional Democrats to advance this unethical practice of destroying life that makes Congressman Joe Donnelly’s vote on Thursday so impressive and admirable. Despite being a freshman Congressman and facing enormous pressure from a party leadership seeking to please the far left interest groups that financed their campaigns, Democrat Joe Donnelly made a principled decision to keep his campaign promise and reject this bad legislation.
Admittedly, after viewing the organizations that contributed to his election bid – far left groups like MoveOn.org – I was skeptical of Donnelly’s commitment to the values he was articulating on the campaign trail. But last Thursday Donnelly chose principle over politics, bucked his party leadership, and remained faithful to his constituents. In this era of American politics, that isn’t easy to do for a tenured Congressman, no less one who has been on the job less than a month. This is certainly not the last test of character Donnelly will face…not for a man claiming social conservative principles in a party led by the likes of Pelosi. But for the moment, Donnelly has given us all—Republicans and Democrats alike—a breath of fresh air. He’s a politician who kept his promise…and in this day and age, that is a unique quality. Let’s give credit where credit is due.
Peter W. Heck