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From the "I can’t believe my eyes and ears" file:

A group called Majority Action ¯which describes itself as being "led by veteran Democratic activists and [having] a leadership board that consists of prominent political figures, including several former Members of Congress, two former Democratic National Committee Chairmen and two former DCCC Chairmen"¯has just released four new television campaign ads . The ads attack four pro-life congressional Republicans in tight reelection races. Why? Because they voted against federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

The ads¯attacking Representatives Chris Chocola, Thelma Drake, Don Sherwood, and James Walsh¯all follow the same format. A teenage male tells you that he is about to be in a car accident and paralyzed for life; a middle-aged mom tells you she will develop Alzheimer’s and won’t be able to recognize her husband or kids; a little girl tells you she will develop diabetes. They then hold up a picture of their congressman, point out that he’s not a doctor or a scientist, and then make the following bold claim:

"Stem-cell research could save lives, maybe yours or your family’s, someone you love. Only Congressmen Walsh said no. How come he thinks he gets to decide who lives and who dies? Who’s he?"

Apparently, the irony of those who favor embryo destruction accusing others of deciding "who lives and who dies" was lost on the ad producers.

These ads are repulsive. One friend wrote in saying she was disgusted, another saying he thought things couldn’t sink this low. But don’t take my word for it; see for yourself. (The ad attacking Walsh can be found here .)

This is truly unfortunate, because these brave congressmen should be supported and applauded for their principled stand¯based on sound science and ethics¯to resist the legal funding of embryo-destructive research. The science and ethics are particularly clear, and we presented them as a group of Ivy Leaguers last election cycle (to read the arguments, click here ). Furthermore, there are good scientific reasons to question the ability of embryonic stem cells ever to be usable in therapies. Meanwhile, adult stem cells are already being used. Lastly, even if one grants that embryonic stem cells may be useful, there appear to be methods on the horizon for creating embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. Human-embryo destruction is not only unethical, it is unnecessary.

It’s a shame that Majority Action ignores all of this and chooses instead to sink to previously inconceivable lows.

Ryan T. Anderson is a junior fellow at First Things . He is also the assistant director of the Program on Bioethics and Human Dignity at the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, N.J.

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