Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Congressman Langevin Understands The Potential of Stem Cells First-Hand!

Photo of Congressman James Langevin (D-R.I.)

Sometimes it takes the insight of one who has suffered a spinal cord injury to understand the need of advancing our research and understanding in the development of stem cell therapies.

Congressman Langevin of Rhode Island said it best in his testimony to Congress in support of H.R. 810, the "Stem cell Research Enhancement Act":
At 16, I was an Explorer Scout in my hometown police station. One afternoon, in the police locker room, a gun accidentally discharged. The bullet severed my spinal cord, and I have been paralyzed ever since.

This experience shapes my perspective in many ways. Above all, it has given me tremendous appreciation and respect for life. My life as a quadriplegic is filled with challenges and obstacles, yet I am grateful for every minute. This gratitude has become a passion - and it has motivated me to help create a culture that values and protects life from its beginning to its end.

To me, being pro-life also means fighting for policies that will eliminate pain and suffering and help people enjoy longer, healthier lives. And to me, support for embryonic stem cell research is entirely consistent with that position. What could be more life-affirming than using what otherwise would be discarded to save, extend and improve countless lives?
This Act is about using frozen embryos that are about to be discarded from fertility labs in order to advance research to treat people who are alive and suffering today!

As well as to provide us for the cures for people who are not even born yet!

No, but Tom Delay (R-Tx) doesn't get it.

I found a picture of one of those frozen embryos.

This is a day three blastocyst that has approximately eight cells. These are the embryos that freeze best and the ones that are most likely to be destroyed as they age. This is an example of the cell cluster that is used for stem cells.

You can see there is no brain, no spinal cord, no specialized tissues. Nothing.

Is it sad to destroy one of these cell clusters? Perhaps, but do the "parents" of these embryos that are about to be destroyed have the right to donate them to science that their creation should not have been in vain?

Isn't it obvious?

So what did our esteemed Texas Congressman, Tom DeLay, have to say about using these clumps of cells to research the treatment of diseases like spinal cord injury, Lou Gehrig's Disease, or Parkinson's disease?

He stated it would result in:
"the dismemberment of living, distinct human beings for the purposes of medical experimentation."
Mr. DeLay is confused. I think maybe he is thinking of the recent revelation of the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan:
Within days after the two deaths in December 2002, military coroners determined that both had been caused by "blunt force trauma" to the legs. Soon after, soldiers and others at Bagram told the investigators that military guards had repeatedly struck both men in the thighs while they were shackled and that one had also been mistreated by military interrogators.
Does Mr. DeLay find those violations of the Geneva Conventions of any concern? Or does he find it more important to defend clumps of cells destined for the garbage dump from dismemberment?

Or does he wish to tell Lt. Dawn Halfaker who lost her right arm in Iraq about dismemberment of Americans fighting a war on false pretenses? Does that alarm him?

Photo of Lt. Halfaker from USA Today

I am so tired of this phony morality.

Senator Kerry himself said it best in the 2004 campaign:
"We know that progress has always brought with it the worry that this time, we have gone too far," Kerry said. "Believe it or not, there was a time when some questioned the morality of heart transplants. Not too long ago, we heard the same kind of arguments against the biotechnology research that now saves stroke victims and those with leukemia."

Such work, Kerry said, is too important to risk for an ideological base and must be "a priority" in the nation's medical community.

"People of good will and good sense can resolve the ethical issues without stopping life-saving research," he added. "America has long led the world in great discoveries, always upholding the highest standards, with our breakthroughs and our beliefs always going hand-in-hand. And when it comes to stem cell research, we will demand no less."
Thank you Senator Kerry! America deserves a President who fights for the poor, the disabled, the suffering, and who doesn't lead America backwards into the Dark Ages of suppression of science, the denial of evolution, and the advancement of war over peace! America deserves better.

Hey John, How about leaving that door open for 2008! We have your back! You can cover America's stem cells!



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