Democrats and Republicans view the stem cell debate very differently.
Earlier this week, Ron Reagan, son of the late president, addressed the Democratic National Convention on stem cell research.
“This could be the biggest revolution in medicine well, ever, really, bigger than antibiotics, bigger than anything,” Ron Reagan, son of the late President Reagan, said on Larry King Live.
“There are so many diseases that could be cured, or at least helped,” former first lady Nancy Reagan said.
On the opposing side, President Bush has sharply limited federal funding for stem cell research.
The issue is embryos sitting by the thousands in fertility clinics across the country. Embryos are the necessary raw ingredient for embryonic stem cells.
For many people, including conservatives, its hands off when it comes to embryos for research.
“Life is a creation of god, not a commodity to be exploited by man,” President Bush said.
But the Reagans see it differently.
“We are talking about cells, undifferentiated cells in a petri dish here. No fingers, no toes, no brain, no spinal cord, no feelings, no pain, no nothing,” Ron Reagan said.
Scientists and several celebrity advocates are pushing for more federal funding for embryonic stem research. The hope is that the cells can be turned into human tissue to treat, for example, Christopher Reeve’s spinal cord injury, Mary Tyler Moore’s diabetes and Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease.
Some Republicans and many Democrats have joined the chorus.
“We also need to lift the ban on stem cell research and find cures that will help millions of Americans,” Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., said.
Actually, President Bush never banned stem cell research. He just limited federal funding to a small group of stem cell lines where the embryos had already been destroyed.
But most researchers say those cells are seriously flawed and not very useful scientifically, and that, alongside some politicians, they’ll continue to fight for more flexible rules.