July 28, 2001: Christopher Reeve, Mary Tyler Moore, and others favoring research involving embryonic stem cells, continue to pressure President Bush, who is said to be agonizing over the stem-cell decision, one of the most important of his presidency.
On CNN’s Late Edition, Reeve argued against focusing only on adult stem cells, saying this would be a “big mistake because you could spend the next five years on adult stem cells and find out they are not capable of doing what we already know embryonic stem cells are capable of doing now.”
In another interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Reeve noted that fertility clinics have for years routinely discarded unwanted embryos in the garbage and argued that “We don’t want to create embryos just for research. We want to rescue these cells from the garbage….I don’t understand how you can be opposed to that. I don’t.”
It is interesting that, on the same day that this interview aired, Pope John Paul II told President Bush as the two met for the first time at the pontiff’s summer residence that the destruction of human embryos is “evil,” equating it to infanticide. In his publicly televised statement, John Paul, whose staunch opposition to embryonic stem-cell research was already well known, said: “A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death.”
The President responded: “I’ll take that view into consideration as I make up my mind on a very difficult issue confronting the United States of America.”