President Bush Was Right . . . Scientifically and Morally

Article excerpt

My dad is completely confined to his bed or a wheel chair now. The Parkinson's disease has also mostly destroyed his ability to speak, and now even his mind is tragically diminished. Mom is better off, but her Alzheimer's continues to rob her day by day of her memory, of her very self. She still remembers her four children, thank God. But her birth date and age are now a complete mystery to her.

Such losses-"the long good-bye," Nancy Reagan so keenly called it-are painful for every family, and every one of us would do almost anything to defeat these horrible thieves.

President George W. Bush recently endured much scorn from America's self-appointed scientific elite, however, when he drew a line at "almost anything" by vetoing a bill to vastly enlarge federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

I emphasize "embryonic" because there are actually three types of stem cells being researched: embryonic, umbilical cord, and adult. But only one kills a human being to get the stem cells: embryonic. So President Bush drew the line: almost anything, but not killing one helpless, innocent human being to help another.

And ironically, Bush is not just morally right. He is scientifically right, too.

Adult and umbilical cord stem cells are already being used to treat or even cure some 65 different afflictions. Breast, ovarian, skin, and testicular cancer, heart and liver disease, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and juvenile arthritis, neural diseases like Parkinson's, and more are being successfully treated in such research. (A list of these various studies can be found at the Life Issues Institute website.)

Embryonic stem cell research, meanwhile, has produced exactly nothing. Not one cure, not one treatment regimen, has emerged from it. Embryonic cells, it seems, are fiendishly difficult to manipulate into the various types of cells being sought-brain tissue, heart tissue-because their differentiation depends on where they are located on the living embryo. (Scientists have even determined that where the sperm enters the egg helps to determine the up-and-down, the top and bottom, of the human body!) Ripped from the context of the living body, however, embryonic cells grow wildly and haphazardly. Thus tumors have resulted from implanting embryonic stems cells in some people. But cures-never. …