Friday, June 3, 2005

Stem cell research is on the move

Stem cell research is but the latest advance in science and medicine that must bear the burden of wrong-headed opposition before it becomes another historic contribution to humankind's betterment.

Scoffers and alarmists have combined for generations to portray early experiments in anesthetics and vaccines, invasive surgery, organ transplants and in vitro surrogate fertilization, to name but a few strides forward, as against God's wishes or menaces to health.

Most Americans, including policymakers with vision, understand the importance of stem cell research and are working to prevent the United States from lagging in the international search for curing dreadful diseases.

President Bush and religious allies trying to thwart research have failed to stop legislatures in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut from launching and funding stem cell research. New Jersey is at work on legislation. Both houses of Congress are advancing their own bills, refusing to knuckle to a presidential veto threat.

A number of church organizations that see the value, and whose creeds interpret the godliness of man's work on earth, have joined in supporting stem cell research.

And the argument that 400,000 surplus embryos stored in fertility clinics should be saved to produce children is hollow. Women who stored them are older and unlikely to want them for new pregnancies or allow other couples to use them. Would objectors to embryos for research also try to block their eventual destruction by donors?

President Bush and zealots imposing narrow religious doctrine on a pluralistic nation obviously learned nothing from their disastrous attempt to interfere in Terri Schiavo's graceful, inevitable death.

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