Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Life And Death Or Spin And Hype

Submitted By bigfish55
Words: 1884
Pages: 8

Life and Death or Spin and Hype “Jesus saith unto her, thy brother shall rise again” (John 11:23). This scripture has not yet been used by Democrats to describe the capability of human embryonic stem cell research, but vice presidential candidate John Edwards came close in a speech made the day after the death of Christopher Reeve. Republicans have countered by implying one of the Ten Commandments “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13) in their condemnation of this controversial research. The debate now taking place about embryonic stem cell research is becoming one of the most divisive issues in society with both political parties taking a firm stance to the delight of mainstream media who now have a new angle on which to dredge up old rivalries on abortion. Unfortunately for the American people the debate that is being driven by politicians and the media is made up mostly of speculation and rhetoric with the occasional fact thrown in if it happens to fit in with the storyline or talking point. Human embryonic stem cell research has generated a tremendous amount of excitement because of these cells ability to differentiate into completely new cells. While this ability to morph into new cells may lead to treatment for some of the most serious ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and spinal cord injuries, it is extremely important to remember that to this point embryonic stem cells have only shown potential and the research is in its infancy. The great potential of embryonic stem cell research ensures the fact that this research will take place, despite unnecessary conservative opposition, and with or without federal funds; as a matter of fact, federal funds are not really necessary, although the federal government does need to continue with limited support in order to regulate this research. Society and science must be careful not to become so fixated on embryonic stem cells that other possible options are ignored. Although it will be difficult to ignore the partisan rhetoric that mainstream media will gleefully trumpet, any application or treatment derived from embryonic stem cells is many years away, so to focus solely on this research to the exclusion of other possible remedies like adult stem cells and nerve transplants is not only foolish, but dangerous. Ever since President Bush announced on August 9, 2001, that federal funds may be awarded for research using human embryonic stem cells if certain criteria are met, including no stem cells created after August 9, 2001, the stem cells must have been created for reproductive purposes and no longer needed, and embryos must have been obtained with informed consent and no financial inducement (NIH, par. 1-4), there have been biblical prophecies from every direction. Nancy Pelosi, the democratic leader of the House of Representatives dramatically claimed that “National Institutes of Health and Science hold the biblical power of a cure for us” (qtd in Krauthammer 2). William Grigg, a conservative magazine editor, prophesied a grim future of organ harvesting from undesirable elements of society (2). The contrasting views between biblical healing and an unavoidable future of organ farms are the only two views being reported, because of this, politicians and the media will make it difficult to see a more centrist view. Media from around the country have heightened the debate by over-hyping the benefits of embryonic stem cells and downplaying the possibilities of other options. Less than a month before the 2004 Presidential Election, Newsweek magazine ran a cover story on “The Battle Over Stem Cells.” The article, written by Claudia Kalb and Debra Rosenberg, cited examples of loyal members of one political party switching to the other over stem cell research. Several of the people who said they were now going to vote for Senator John Kerry, who has promised to increase funding from the 35 million by the Bush administration to