Jul 16, 2001
A discussion is going on inside the Administration: should President Bush ban the use of federal grants for stem cell research? This, of course, would severely limit any such investigation since the government pays for a very high proportion of new medical research.
This relatively new line of medical research involves the use of living cells extracted from human embryos that can be used to create new tissue to repair malfunctioning body organs. The embryos that the stem cells are extracted from generally come from fertility clinics, frequently in frozen form. According to many doctors and health care officials, stem cell research holds great promise in developing treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease, juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and a number of other disorders.
Could this research realize the promise it seems to hold? Of course, no one can be sure. It’s why medical science needs to investigate.
But one thing is sure: it will provide nothing at all if religious obscurantism has its way.
Should we handcuff science – the means through which humanity has rapidly advanced its knowledge of the world in which we live and of ourselves during the last four centuries?
“By all means,” answer the religious fanatics who would take us back to a Middle Ages rife with superstition.
And Bush – if he were diagnosed with cancer – would he like to be treated with “eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog”?
Or would he go to the most advanced practitioner of medical science?
Can there be any doubt?