Monday, July 17, 2006

Stem Cells: What's Right is Wrong

Check out the latest on Bush and stem cell research from CNN.

Now Bush, in his admirable war-mongering yet pro-life ways, has decided to veto a federal bill that would expand funding for human embryonic stem cell research. With re-elections looming, Washington is up for grabs and this issue could make or break a Republican sweep in November.

I'll admit that I am pro-life, but like many things in life, I've come to accept it as a necessary evil in our society. And yes, I do think abortion, when it spares a reckless teen heartache and strife is evil, as it is when it spares a career-woman a set back on her way up the corporate ladder. I know there are circumstances of rape and incest and health complications that can sway my view on the matter, but at its core, it is in fact the termination of human life, or at the very least, the potential for human life.

But the issue here isn't breeding babies for the sole purpose of curing Alzheimer's. The insight that has been gleaned on treatment for diseases and injuries is beyond encouraging and we're at a very privileged moment in history to make great strides in medicine. While some may argue that harvesting fetuses for the sole purpose of research isn't beyond the realm of possibility for scientists, the fact remains that right now the building blocks for a cure for paralysis or Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease is right around the corner. It's like stopping Columbus from exploring the Americas for fear of falling off the face of the earth or stopping space missions because we're going to piss off God.

What's interesting about this article from CNN is that while Bush may be making a very loud, symbolic gesture with this veto, it isn't going to do much to curb this lifesaving research. Other countries like Singapore have made this a top-line action item and are devoting the funds to advance biotechnology. Here in the States, the issue is only a partisan trick that will last for as long as any gerrymandering session. Bush is just taking a position to assert leadership and assuage his uber-conservative fan base. Right now, this technology is so new that by the time we get down to the specifics of this matter to really assess its potential, Bush won't be in office and the American people will have awoken from their eight year stupor.

For more information on stem cell research click here.


Brytta said...

I’m for a slower path to government funding of fetal stem cell research. Adult s.c. show much promise to cure a variety of ills. Maybe not everything that fetal s.c. could potentially fix, but enough to start working with. Since the use of fetal s.c. is fraught with moral and ethical considerations, why not wait until they’re resolved? I see no reason not to develop and exhaust adult s.c. research first, before moving on. Why is it so absolutely necessary to have full, unrestricted, and government-financed research on fetal stem cells, when science can’t even make use of the other, very similar, types of stem cells that they have unfettered access to? All or nothing access always confuses me. Abortion is the other one. I prefer an incremental approach (but quick none the less) to this research, and to use fetal cells as the absolute last resort, after every other possibility is exhausted.

GRT said...

Um...just about everyone I know is pro-life. No one is pro-abortion; they are pro-choice. There are no Gilbert and Sullivan ditties about "Abortions that bloom in the spring, tra-la!"

Circumstances, you grant, can "sway" your position.

Circumstances "sway" everyone's position, including "a reckless teen" and "a career-woman."

Other than that quibble, another excellent posting. Thank you.