Differing Views on Controversal Stem-Cell Research

Published: June 27, 2004  |  Source: courier-journal.com

`Research is promising’

With all the recent discussions surrounding stem-cell research and former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s support of this research, I am encouraging all Kentuckians who believe in this research to contact their state and federal legislators, the Governor and President Bush and let them know that you want them to support stem-cell research.

A few days before President Ronald Reagan passed away, 58 senators, 14 of them Republicans, wrote a letter to President Bush asking him to ease the restrictions on stem-cell research. One of those Republican senators, Orrin Hatch, an ardent opponent of abortion, introduced a bill last year that would allow therapeutic cloning to take place. He has been quoted as saying, “Regenerative medicine is pro life and pro family. If encouraged to flourish, it could improve the lives of millions of Americans and could lead to scientific frontiers not now in sight.” Hatch has gone on to say that he has no moral objection to this research and that, “Human life begins in the mother’s nurturing womb, not when the clone is created in the laboratory.”

We are talking about a blastocyst (a scientific term), which is as small as a grain of sand and cannot be seen without a microscope, as if it were already a human life. I am certain of one thing: I am a human life and I have been using a wheelchair for the past 22 years due to a spinal-cord injury. This research is promising and gives hope to those of us who have disabilities, illnesses or diseases.

Please contact your elected officials today.

Louisville 40214

Give us `false hope’

In your June 11 editorial, “Reagan’s `Long Goodbye,'” you try to exploit the grieving public with false hope about the potential for stem cells to cure Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have apparently known for some time that embryonic stem cells will not be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, because, as two researchers told a Senate subcommittee in May, it is a “whole brain disease,” rather than a cellular disorder (such as Parkinson’s).

Dr. Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem-cell researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, recently explained to The Washington Post the reason scientists have allowed society to believe wrongly that stem cells are likely to effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease. “People need a fairy tale,” he stated. “Maybe that’s unfair, but they need a story line that’s relatively simple to understand.”

Fetal-stem-cell-research advocates have allowed the grieving widow of former President Ronald Reagan to believe cruel untruths about the potential for stem cells to cure this terrible disease. These falsehoods help generate public support for the biotech political agenda.

The important decisions being made today by our leaders in the area of stem-cell research will have a significant impact upon the morality of the 21st Century. We are not being well served by scientists who think we “need a story line that’s relatively simple to understand,” nor by newspaper editorials that give us cruel fairy tales and false hope.

Louisville 40202

Source: The Courier-Journal