May 25, 2005
Now that the House has voted to lift limits on embryonic stem cell research, Bush is of course waving his theocratic veto:
Bush called the bill a mistake and said he would veto it. The House approved it by a 238-194 vote, far short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a veto.
“This bill would take us across a critical ethical line by creating new incentives for the ongoing destruction of emerging human life,” the president said Tuesday. “Crossing this line would be a great mistake.”
So as the president urges the nation (as he did when he first threatened the veto) to “pray that America uses the gift of freedom to build a culture of life,” he might consider what that really means. From the National Institutes of Health:
Studies of human embryonic stem cells may yield information about the complex events that occur during human development. A primary goal of this work is to identify how undifferentiated stem cells become differentiated. Scientists know that turning genes on and off is central to this process. Some of the most serious medical conditions, such as cancer and birth defects, are due to abnormal cell division and differentiation. A better understanding of the genetic and molecular controls of these processes may yield information about how such diseases arise and suggest new strategies for therapy. A significant hurdle to this use and most uses of stem cells is that scientists do not yet fully understand the signals that turn specific genes on and off to influence the differentiation of the stem cell.
…If scientists can reliably direct the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into specific cell types, they may be able to use the resulting, differentiated cells to treat certain diseases at some point in the future. Diseases that might be treated by transplanting cells generated from human embryonic stem cells include Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, traumatic spinal cord injury, Purkinje cell degeneration, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, heart disease, and vision and hearing loss.
It sure must feel good to be, uh, pro-life.
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