When you look up the word bop in the Merriam-Webster dictionary
, you find that, when used as a verb, the word is defined as "hit" or "sock." In other words, the word means to knock around or knock out, depending on the severity of the blow.
Well, I thought that was an appropriate way to describe the antics of James Bopp, Jr., the National Right to Life Committee's general counsel, who spent some time at the Republican Platform Committee's proceedings attempting to water down language that was designed to support a ban on all human embryonic stem cell research.
Stephen Spruiell was the first to tell the tale in his August 28 on-line column, "Re: Cell Breakthrough." He details the amazing victory pro-lifers had with the addition of language that has never before been in any party platform, at least as far as I know. The language now reads:
Taxpayer-funded medical research must be based on sound science, with a focus on both prevention and treatment, and in accordance with the humane ethics of the Hippocratic Oath. In that regard, we call for a major expansion of support for the stem-cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases – with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells – without the unethical destruction of embryonic human life. We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes. [emphasis added]
The reason Spruiell, and later, Jill Stanek emphasized the word "or" is simple, once you read what Mr. Jim Bopp had to say or listened to it yourself on Jill Stanek's blog. Mr. Bopp tried hard to convince those listening that experimentation on human embryos for the specific purpose of research was actually a good idea. But please don't take my word for it. Here is what he said:
I strongly favor protecting human infants in research and from intentional destruction, from experimentation that results in their death. I think the amendment inadvertently could be read to ask that therapeutic research that would involve human embryos be prohibited. And therapeutic research, that is research that is done on human subjects for their benefit, is under certain circumstances appropriate.
Well, some could argue that what Bopp was attempting to suggest is that if a researcher was doing something to the embryonic child that would benefit that child, then of course we should agree that such research was not only worthy of being done, but an ethical plus!
Hmmm! Apparently, that argument would be false. For Spruiell asked Bopp what he meant, and here is his response:
There are no current research projects that would be therapeutic for a human embryo, but it is perfectly conceivable that there will be. An example would be altering DNA that has genetic markers for a serious disease. If that becomes possible, and it certainly could become possible at some point in time, someone's going to have to do it the first time. And when they do it the first time it's going to be therapeutic for the embryo involved, but it is also going to be experimental.
All therapies have at some point been experimental and were done on a human being. But as long as it's only done for that human embryo's benefit is it ethical or moral, and it is that research that I was concerned that this language may inadvertently affect.
Bopp attempted the same thing four years ago, according to Family Research Council staffers, whom Spruiell spoke with after he talked with Bopp. At that time, he is reported to have argued that the platform's language shouldn't contradict the presumptive presidential candidate's position. At this juncture, I have to add that I had heard the very same thing from someone who attended the most recent platform deliberations. She was astounded by what she heard and grateful that his voice fell on deaf ears.
Well, folks, all I can say is, thank God for the principled delegates at the Platform Committee proceedings who fought for truth, for people like Stanek and Spruiell who publicized what happened there, and for our own American Life League … Yes, we had something to say about it as well. Exposing agendas is the name of the game, and once the facts are out there, I say, let the chips fall where they may.
And I also say, Mr. Bopp, if you do not agree with what we have reported here or have an explanation, we would be happy to print it right here in my blog.