Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bush: Will Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research-Pandering to his Fundamentalist Base!

Nancy Reagan, the former Republican First Lady and wife of the late President Reagan has said this about stem cell research:
"Science has presented us with a hope called stem-cell research, which may provide our scientists with answers that have so long been beyond our grasp," she said. "I just don't see how we can turn our backs on this—there are just so many diseases that can be cured, or at least helped. We have lost so much time already, and I just really can't bear to lose any more."

Photo of Nancy and Ronald Reagan

Mrs. Reagan knows about the pain of a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. It is not clear that Alzheimer's will be particularly amenable to stem cell research, but the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer's Association on June 13, 2004, had this to say:
"In keeping with its mission to eliminate Alzheimer's disease, the Alzheimer's Association opposes any restriction or limitation on human stem cell research, provided the appropriate scientific reviews, and ethical and oversight guidelines are in place."

Christopher Reeve understood the importance of embryonic stem cell research.

Photo of "Superman" Christopher Reeve and "Lois Lane" Margot Kidder

Unfortunately, Christopher Reeve has not lived to see the benefit of seeing embryonic stem cell research assist in finding treatments for spinal cord injuries.

But this is some of his testimony to Congress on this issue:
We must pursue research on embryonic stem cells.

With the life expectancy of average Americans heading as high as 85 to 90 years, it is our responsibility to do everything possible to protect the quality of life of the present and future generations. A critical factor will be what we do with human embryonic stem cells. These cells have the potential to cure diseases and conditions ranging from Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis to diabetes and heart disease, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease, even spinal-cord injuries like my own. They have been called the body's self-repair kit.

Their extraordinary potential is a recent discovery. And much basic research needs to be done before they can be sent to the front lines in the battle against disease. But no obstacle should stand in the way of responsible investigation of their possibilities. To that end, the work should be funded and supervised by the Federal Government through the National Institutes of Health(NIH). That will avoid abuses by for-profit corporations, avoid secrecy and destructive competition between laboratories and ensure the widest possible dissemination of scientific breakthroughs. Human trials should be conducted either on the NIH campus or in carefully monitored clinical facilities.
Christopher Reeve also found it hard to believe that some would find working on embryonic clusters of cells that were bound to be discarded in fertility labs would somehow seem to be "unethical" to some parties. He went on:
But why has the use of discarded embryos for research suddenly become such an issue? Is it more ethical for a woman to donate unused embryos that will never become human beings, or to let them be tossed away as so much garbage when they could help save thousands of lives?

Michael J. Fox knows first-hand why embryonic stem cell research is imperative. He has stopped acting, in large part due to the continued effects of Parkinson's disease on his ability to walk, to speak steadily, to even to hold still without shaking.

Photo of Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future

He has stated about this controversy:
It's ridiculous. It's so self-defeating for those of us with Parkinson's and other degenerative diseases. We don't want to create Frankenstein or clone our Uncle Charlie so we can play poker with him again. It's nuts. We just want to save lives.

If the government were to allow funding for embryonic stem-cell research, it could use its own power of oversight to apply standards to the research that people will feel comfortable with. The research will happen anyway. But it will happen in other countries now, and we won't have as much input.
He added, about getting legislators to act:
It's hard to get them to focus, with everything that's going on in the world right now. But I do think it's trending positively. This is all about patients and their families. All those people in Washington can trace this issue back to someone in their family who has an illness that might be affected by this research.

I believe it was a 19th-century scientist who said there are three stages of every breakthrough: First, everyone thinks you're crazy. Then the church comes out against you. Then it changes the world. We're in stage two. But I don't see any backsliding in momentum.
And what has President Bush done about this?

President Bush has threatened to veto a bill that is currently moving through the Republican-controlled House and Senate that would expand Federal support for embryonic stem cell research because for one thing, the available lines of human embryonic stem cells are contaminated!

Photo of President Bush

President Bush had this to say:
"I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life, I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it," he said at a White House photo session with the prime minister of Denmark.
Thank you President Bush. It is reassuring to hear you slip back into the Dark Ages of Scientific Investigation, preventing the great crime of using embryonic cells destined for the garbage dump to be donated to science in pursuit of cures to spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's Disease, Diabetes, Lou Gehrig's Disease and other maladies facing our world.

President Bush finds it acceptable to relax mercury pollution which endangers unborn children.

President Bush finds it acceptable to cut funds for child care assistance, school breakfast programs and aid for low-income students.

And worst of all, this President has sent our children into a war in Iraq that was justified on false pretenses, on WMD's that were never found.

Over 1,797 of our Children will never return from this war and over 12,516 Americans have been injured. And for what?

And this President is worried about saving life that exists in liquid nitrogen, destined for the garbage heap?

America deserves better! We need a President who pursues scientific investigation and does not hide under fundamentalist dogma. We need a President who values life, who avoids war, and helps our children.



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