Joining Nancy Reagan, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry calls on President Bush to remove restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, with Alzheimer’s the timely hook:
- “We must lift the barriers that stand in the way of science and push the boundaries of medical exploration so that researchers can find the cures that are there, if only they are allowed to look,” Kerry said in the Democrats’ weekly radio address.
Bush has placed limits on stem cell research and opposes using stem cells from most embryos.
Embryonic stem cells have the ability to produce cells that make any kind of tissue at all, and the hope is to train them to produce tissues and organs on demand.
But their origin is controversial to some people because they are taken from tiny embryos left over from IVF or test tube fertilization attempts. They can also be made using cloning technology.
A White House spokesman said the president “continues to believe strongly that we should not cross a fundamental moral line by funding or encouraging the destruction of human embryos.”
This is, frankly, absurd, and the key policy area where Bush’s religion is interfering with his judgment.
- Ending a self-imposed campaign hiatus that began with Reagan’s death last Saturday, Kerry said, “We must look to the future not with fear, but with the hope and the faith that advances in medicine will advance our best values.”
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee would overturn the ban on federal funding of research on new stem cell lines and allow the exploration of their full potential with ethical oversight.
Researchers say embryonic stem cells could eventually lead to brain cell transplants for Alzheimer’s patients. They also hope to use embryonic stem cells to treat other ills such as Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, heart disease and diabetes.
Recalling that the morality of heart transplants had once been questioned, Kerry said, “The medical discoveries that come from stem cell are crucial next steps in humanity’s uphill climb. … Part of this nation’s greatness lies in the fact that we have led the world in great medical discoveries, with our breakthroughs and our beliefs going hand in hand.”
….Nancy Reagan has made an impassioned appeal for stem cell research, saying it could help find a cure for Alzheimer’s, which took her husband “to a distant place where I can no longer reach him.”
“She stood up to help find a breakthrough that someday will spare other husbands, wives, children and parents from the same kind of heartache,” Kerry said. “Some call this denial, but I’m sure that Nancy Reagan — the wife of an eternal optimist — calls it hope.”
Reagan battled Alzheimer’s for a decade before succumbing to complications from the disease at age 93.
Kerry and 57 other senators, including 14 Republicans, have written to Bush urging him to lift the restrictions on stem cell research. [Reuters]
The bottom line is that nothing “human” is destroyed in the process, there are no souls at risk, and the potential benefits are enormous and highly likely. This is superstitious fear plain and simple, as well as a sop to Bush’s religious right supporters.