Thursday, August 12, 2004

Let's have a little truth, shall we?
OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "'First lady Laura Bush defends ban on stem-cell research' is how the Philadelphia Inquirer spun Mrs. Bush's talk. A sampling of other headlines shows the Inquirer is far from alone: 'Rethink the stem-cell ban' (Des Moines Register); 'Stem cell ban stays, despite Reagan pleas' (Newark Star-Ledger); 'Kerry says he'd reverse stem cell ban' (The Grand Rapids Press); 'Kerry 'would lift stem cell ban' '(BBC), and on and on. You get the drift."

So what are the true facts of this so-called "ban" on stem-cell research?
1)Private research is in no way restricted by government mandates, or the decision handed down by President Bush that many claim acts as a ban.
2)Since 2001 (the first year that federal money was given to stem-cell research), funding has almost doubled, from $306 million to over $521 million.
3)Bush's decision does limit apportionment of federal money for this type of research to existing lines, rather than creating new ones.

So, what does this mean?
Research continues, and advances are being made. Federal money cannot be used to create new embryonic stem-cell lines, or to encourage the destruction of embryos. There are also no restrictions on adult stem lines, which do not involve embryos of any sort.

Ok, enough of the truth. Now, I open the comments section to whatever spin you might like to apply.

UPDATE [8/12/2004 - 18:40]: Thanks to Matto for his post in the comments. He points to an article written by the publisher of JunkScience that further elaborates, and with very specific detail, why Bush's position on stem cell research is the only reasonable one, and why Reagan's position is untenable, based primarily on the science behind it.


Jeff said...

Perhaps the notion of a “ban” is misleading, but you know that only a few of the existing stem cell lines provide viable research opportunities, and the limitation of federal funding to those lines drastically reduces the significant medical advances that can be made. The President’s attempt to assume the moral high ground on this issue by expressing concern about the destruction of embryos that would have been discarded anyway, while prolonging the search for a cure for some of the worst illnesses, is highly disturbing and should merit the condemnation of open-minded conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Jeff -

You state that there are funding limitations for already-existing lines of stem-cell research, yet the facts presented by Brian and OpinionJournal clearly show that funding has increased steadily in the past few years, and precisely for existing lines of research. Do you have evidence to the contrary? Or is there a problem in splitting the funding amongst all the lines that deprives the lines with viable research opportunities of the money they need?

Also, it seems to me that President Bush's moral high ground is in regards to embryos created for the purpose of stem cell research, rather than embryos that would have been discarded. Hence the limitation of funding to existing lines. At the least, it would set a precedent that could have some serious ramifications when new embryos are eventually discarded. People may become flippant about creating embryos if they know that the embryos can be used for stem cell research if not used for fertilization. That becomes a pretty ethically grey area for me.

Matto said...

My personal hero Steve Milloy has this to offer on why people are making such a big deal about taxpayer funding for stem cells. Funny how the media never explores things like this.