I wrote this for the Daily Kos
For reasons that are, self-serving, politicians always ask us to think of the children. I would like you to think of… yourselves for a moment.
Limiting stem cell research is amoral. There is no other way to look at this. There is no slippery slope. There is no justification for people who understand the promises of science and the laws of the Bible.
As a physician, I am very aware of the benefits, the possible benefits, a stem cell research. For a moment think of yourself as a 25 year old who is riding a motorcycle and loses control. You wake up in the hospital, one week later you were on a breathing machine and you’re being fed through a tube in your nose going into your stomach. Your family tells you that you’re paralyzed from the neck down but because of the modern miracle of stem cell research, stem cells have been implanted into your spinal cord. You were expected to make a full recovery. You should be able to walk within six months. You will have a full recovery!
Again, I would ask you to think of yourselves. Your spouse takes you into the neurologist office because you’ve been very forgetful lately. You are a 55 year old businessman with a wife and 3 kids. You depend on your brain to make a living. As you sit down with your neurologist, your spouse, your love, tells the neurologist that you left the house the other day and couldn’t remember how to get home. You were found three blocks from your house confused, bewildered and scared. The neurologist tells you that you have a case of Alzheimer’s syndrome. That the best treatment that we have is to place you in the hospital and will run some tests. We’ll find the best place to inject stem cells directly into your brain to replace the cells that are firing poorly. The neurologist then tells you that we have seen dramatic results within 48 hours. You are expected to live a full and normal life.
Finally, I would ask you to think of yourselves. You are 13-year-old girl who was feeling poorly and you just woke up in emergency room. Your mother is with you and she is looking frightened. Your mother tells you that you passed out this morning and that the doctor says that you have insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. You begin to cry because that sounds terrible. Suddenly, the curtain moves. A Doctor, a gastroenterologist comes over and states that we used to treat diabetes by working as hard as we can to control diet and to monitor blood glucose (sugar). Now, we are able to inject the pancreas with stem cells. Within a week we have been able to find evidence of better glucose regulation by the pancreas. Within a month the pancreas is controlling your glucose without the aid of insulin. Within two months we won’t be able to stop monitoring your glucose. You will be back to normal.
That is the promise of stem cell research. To limit such research to certain stem cells is amoral. To give a clump of cells more rights than a walking, talking human being is again, amoral.
Update: Bush has used the power of the pen to crush a bipartisan effort to reverse his stem cell policy. Interestingly, the media was not allowed to photograph or film this great moment in history, his first veto.
Update #2: From Think Progress – Today, Bush is expected to veto a bill that would expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. It will be the first veto of his presidency. Last week, Karl Rove –- explaining why Bush planned on vetoing the bill — told the Denver Post that “recent studies” show researchers “have far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells.”
The Chicago Tribune contacted a dozen top stem cell experts about Rove’s claim. They all said it was inaccurate. So who wrote the “studies” that Rove was referring to?
White House spokesman Ken Lisaius on Tuesday could not provide the name of a stem cell researcher who shares Rove’s views on the superior promise of adult stem cells.
In a letter to President Bush last year, a group of 80 Nobel laureates wrote that “current evidence suggests that adult stem cells have markedly restricted differentiation potential.”
Question: Does President Bush believe that adult stem cell research has “far more promise” than embryonic stem cells? Is that a contributing factor in his decision to veto the bill?
My answer to their question (think progess’) is no. Bush doesn’t think that deeply about problems. Instead, Bush understands that the Christian Right opposes stem cell research therefore, he opposes it. The actual evidence and data don’t influence George W’s mind. Why? Because he is a “gut” man.