Saturday, June 04, 2005

Don't Stymie Stem Cell Research! (Part II)

To clarify a question raised from a comment on my previous post, the president's current law prohibits the use of embryonic stem cells fertilized after 2001; the House bill seeks to overturn this law. And while it is true that there are many people who oppose stem cell research, President Bush cannot count on partisan support in this issue. Prominent Republicans such as Ron and Nancy Reagan, Sen. Orrin Hatch, and Sen. Arlen Specter are representative of a vast multitude of Americans who realize that stem cell research is necessary to save lives.

I think that the people who are opposed to this research are being misled by inaccurate terms, misinformation, and propaganda. Last week, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter published a fabulous essay entitled "The 'Pro-Cure' Movement". This is a must-read, informative article which stated the case for stem cell research brilliantly.

"It's simple enough," says Atler, "reproductive cloning (to create Frankensteins), no; embryonic-stem-cell research (to cure diseases), yes." That basic summation statement needs to be pushed into voters' minds, because it's one that most people can agree with.

Alter also exposed a hole in the conservatives' strategy of tying stem cell research with abortion:
The stem-cell debate has been linked to abortion, as if depriving science of the use of these cells somehow extends "the culture of life." But here the "pro-life" position should argue for therapeutic research. Under Bush's stem-cell policy, 400,000 surplus blastocysts at fertility clinics are eventually thrown in the trash instead of a few thousand being used to enhance life. To be intellectually coherent, Bush would have to shut down all in vitro clinics, depriving millions of infertile couples of the chance for a child. Fat chance.

Also, in backing up my claim above that this is an issue that does not fall along partisan lines, Alter also cited a survey conducted by the Republican Main Street Partnership that found "support for stem-cell research even in very conservative districts" (emphasis added). Now that's encouraging news! Perhaps there's still room for optimism in hoping this debate reaches the right outcome.


Hammer said...

I can't figure out the RMSP. Stem cell research seems to be a high priority for the group, but at least one member, Sen. Norm Coleman is on record opposed to expanding stem cell research. Maybe he changed his mind because of the polls.

Anonymous said...

There is no academic argument for stem cell research--there is, for some reason, this weird notion that we ought to allow scientific research to go forward unregulated for "progress' sake." No! Scientists must be watched closely and constantly by politicians, ethicists, jurists, and theologians--scientists must understand that they are not exempt from the laws that govern our society and the way change happens.

-Samir Paul