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Friday, July 14, 2006

Stem Cell Research Funding

This is an area that draws at the heartstrings of Americans and their religious belief’s. Embryonic stem cells are the choice for scientists to use for research purposes but the Federal Government will not allow research beyond the lines created prior to 1991. By not allowing I am talking about not funding the research with any federal monies. The religious side of the ban on the research is that the embryo is a potential life and by using the embryo for that research you must kill it to study it.

The dilemma over funding the research or not funding it is what I would call an American argument for the ages. Being a society with deep religious belief’s and that ideology is what makes America different from many governments around the world. American’s will elect a man in a wheel chair to the highest office in the land but I do not think they would ever elect an atheist.

I would say that I am a fairly religious person being a Catholic but I am also a realist. Science and the Church have been at odds with one another for centuries. Many a great scientists and people we look at today as the founders of our new sciences were excommunicated from the church and where possible sentenced to death for a proven scientific fact today that we take for granted as common sense. The Sun does not revolve around the Earth but that was an argument just like Stem Cell Research is today that you could be held accountable by the church.

Many Americans benefit from medical breakthroughs because so many scientists and researchers are looking at the same problem from so many different angles. Humanity is a progressive species. We have the ability to study our bodies and find answers to stop the suffering of so many by so few great minds. Disease and life long disabilities do not care if you go to church every Sunday or what God you pray too.

Even more Americans suffer and eventually die from many diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or even accidents that cause spinal cord damage leaving a person crippled for life. The baby boomer generation has approached the age of retirement and now it is our turn to fall to God’s will and perish from this Earth in each of our own unique ways. Some of us will get cancer, some of us will survive two or three fights with cancer because of research done twenty or thirty years ago. Some of us will fight Parkinson’s that has no cure today. Slowly over time our bodies will fail us and our lives will be gone without hope. Some of us will face Alzheimer’s but we will never know it because we will forget everything and all our loved ones that will care for us for as long as they can. The list can go on and on. I don’t know who said it but I loved the quote, as soon as you are born you are dying. I would like to add to that something that is kind of really important. Life is what happens between the time you are born and the time they pronounce you out of here for the long dirt nap.

Meanwhile, somewhere at a clinic that uses donated embryos for fertility purposes only has an expiration date for use on the embryo’s. They are tossing in the trash the same lives the churches taught us all that were of the utmost value. Somebody has to explain to me how throwing those embryo’s in the trash is placing a higher value on those potential lives?

It’s kind of ironic when you see that Nancy Reagan had to call on several people in our Congress to tell them that Stem Cell Research was a very important issue to the American people. There is a woman that has lived the life of what it means to care for someone she loved so much and watch as he faded into the sunset of life. The lion of the Republican Party’s wife had to show her claws for the legislation to have a chance. Now it does.

President Bush is going to veto it. His first veto as President of the United States of America is going to be against the possibility through scientific research of saving millions of American’s lives. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s don’t care what political party you come from. When they come to visit they stay for the duration. Folks need to speak up.

It’s a proven fact that most people are afraid to contact their own representatives in Congress or even the President. There is no law against doing so. They want and need to hear from you. They are there to represent you. Make the call or email or visit a local office.


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*** added link from Newsweek... 7/16/06
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Blogger Steve said...

I sometimes wonder if the religious aversion to scientific research along the lines of stem cells, genetics, opening the body for surgery etc., is due to a fear of being proven wrong. The more science advances, the more it might appear to some that religion is not correct. I remember a friend of mine swearing that carbon dating is false because it's based on the math we know and not the faith we have.

When the foundations of our beliefs are challenged, we feel the urge to fight back. I don't know that the resistance is per se bad, but it is unfortunate, as it delays discoveries that could save thousands of lives.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Papamoka said...


I just wonder if I am an idiot on a bigger issue than I can handle. My life is my kids and God forbid that any of them would get sick then I would want the best reserch and science to make them better.

Both of my parents are gone, one from heart disease and the other from Alzheimers. This issues touches my life personally.

I just don't aggree that our government has any say on research that touches so many of us and says that we can not fund it as a people. That is my problem with Stem Cell Research and our own governments stance against it.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Steve said...


I have no issue with stem cell research. I tend to support it, and if the government would be willing to fund the research, I would not object. However, I think that if the government is not going to support the research through funding, then it should at the very least not block access to private funding for said research.

7:18 AM  
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