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Aug 1 2004

There is No Ban on Stem Cell Research

There is a limited ban on federal funding of new embryonic stem cell research. The ban on federal dollars does not affect some sixty existing embryonic stem cell lines or any adult stem cell research. Nor does the ban affect any category of privately funded research done through drug companies, non-profit foundations, or any other entity.

Accordingly, no research...or, rather, no legitimate research, will be affected as the pool of research dollars is unchanged. The federal restriction on funding merely reallocates federal dollars to adult stem cell research and research involving the prior existing lines, while private dollars are redirected to the narrow category of new embryonic stem cell lines which, by the way, must come from newly destroyed embryos.

Think about it...if there really is something to this embryonic stem cell research, the multi-billion dollar drug and pharmaceutical companies will invest in it. How much would a cure for cancer, diabetes, or freaking baldness be worth? If the research is legit...the private dollars will be there. Additionally, non-profit organizations are available to fund non-financially rewarding research.

Between the drug companies, private foundations and the federal government...no one is stopping any research. There is merely a re-division of where the dollars are coming from and going to...the research pie remains unchanged.

Imagine a group of taxpayers saying they don't want their taxes to go to the war in Iraq. OK, Uncle Sam prints them off a spreadsheet showing them that all their tax dollars are going to entitlement programs while other taxpayers foot the bill for the war. Everyone's happy...but nothing changes...same thing as with stem cell research.

Additionally, I must address Ron Reagan's (son of President Reagan) comments during the recent Democratic Convention. It is most unfortunate that Ron saw fit it take advantage of his father's illness and death to make misleading statements about an issues his father, an ardent pro-lifer, most likely would have disagreed with. Here is just one statement of Ron with the previously sanitized truth added in brackets (with a little assistance from National Review Online):

"Now, imagine going to a doctor who instead of prescribing drugs, takes a few skin cells from your arm. The nucleus of one of your cells is placed into a donor egg whose own nucleus has been removed. A bit of chemical or electrical stimulation will encourage your cell's nucleus to begin dividing [actually, create a new cloned human embryo], creating new cells [embryonic development] which will then be [destroyed and their cells] placed into a tissue culture. Those cells will generate embryonic stem cells containing only your DNA [and mitochondrial DNA from the egg], thereby [theoretically] eliminating the risk of tissue rejection."

It's sad that Ron can't be an advocate of his position and still tell the full truth. Much like partial-birth abortion advocates hide from graphic descriptions of that barbaric procedure, Ron failed to mention the fact that new embryonic stem cell research involves human cloning (also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer), killing new living embryos and that researchers are currently having much more success utilizing adult stem cells than embryonic stem cells.

Let me repeat because this is important: New embryonic stem cell research requires both human cloning and the killing of living embryos. This is still going on unaffected by any federal ban in the private sector. There simply is a ban on the funding of such activities by the federal government.

Finally, to illustrate the greater success of adult stem cell research versus embryonic stem cell research, here is a scoreboard showing the number of current treatments which have resulted from each:

Stem Cell Treatment Scoreboard

Remarks of President Bush on Stem Cell Research, August 9, 2001.

Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics

Posted by Don |

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