Stem cell research is pro-life
The pro-life movement has literally become pro death. Instead of using groundbreaking technology to save maybe millions of adult lives, they want to save a few embryos that are going to be thrown away anyway.
Stem cells are blank canvases waiting for paint. They are taken from days-old embryos. They are extracted and then implanted into human organs. Let’s say you have a bad liver. Research shows injecting the stem cells into your liver grows healthy liver cells, healing your liver in the process. This is done instead of an organ transplant.
Many doctors and scientists have said the possibilities are endless with stem-cell research. There have been advancements in paralysis injuries and MS. Imagine a cure to ALS or Alzheimer’s disease, even cures for cancer and AIDS.
But American scientists are being restrained by the religious right, led by Focus on the Family (Dr. James Dobson) and the Roman Catholic Church. President Bush, who claims to be highly spiritual, has denied any further funding for stem-cell research, and says he will veto any bill that comes to him. The bill calls for the use of excess in-vitro embryos that will be discarded if they are not used. The President has not vetoed a single bill in office to date.
Bush has said, ‘“I made very clear to Congress that the use of Federal money, taxpayers’ money, to promote science which destroys life to save lives ‘— I’m against that.’” This comes from the same guy who has signed more death sentences then anyone else in modern American history.
There is a relatively small group of religious fanatics in this country that has pushed its ideals into politics. This is the un-separation of church and state. This decision is based on the idea that life begins at conception. Does it?
Our country has always been up to the challenge of innovation. We pioneered the first air flight. Russia launched Sputnik and we went to the moon. We had the Manhattan Project, creating an atomic bomb to end World War II. If the religious right would have done then what they are doing now, we would all be speaking Japanese. Maybe we don’t want innovation anymore. Maybe if we cure too many people the pharmaceutical companies and doctors won’t be able to make their money.
A Michigan State University scientist, Jose Cibelli, was once the leading researcher in this field. Now, South Korea and Great Britain have taken huge leads over our under-funded researchers. The South Korean government backs a stem-cell research program at Seoul National University, headed by Hwang Woo-suk. He has made a groundbreaking discovery: the successful extraction of stem cells from cloned embryos taken from the DNA of unhealthy and injured patients. He has now done this successfully twice.
People, please stop being so selfish with your spirituality. If you have beliefs, that is fine. If you want to impose them on everyone, that is not. If you want to stand up for your beliefs, then sign away your rights to take the medicine created by this research. But, when you get some terrible disease, don’t come crying for the cure, because we tried to give it to you.
Local Vocal is a guest column that runs periodically in YES! Weekly. The authors’ opinions are their own and not necessarily those of YES! Weekly. To comment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.