Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Battle Over Stem Cell Research Rages

The Senate approved a bill today to increase funding available for stem cell research. A similar bill has already been vetoed by President Bush, citing the moral implications of destroying embryos for research. Early indications are that Bush will also veto this bill, despite the research community’s contention that expanded research on embryonic stem cells could provide cures for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and juvenile diabetes.

As Congress prepares to vote on this bill, most probably sending it to the White House for the president’s consideration, one has to question the various roles associated with this bill.

I am a huge believer in the role of medical researchers in the progress of our quality of life. Not only do people have longer life expectancies, but people live with less pain and suffering. Physical ailments which used to be permanently debilitating are no temporary inconveniences. Diseases that could be fatal or crippling are now treatable or even curable.

Some would say that these researchers are playing God, that they are determining life and death without considering the moral implications. But to me, it seems that these people are heroes, finding ways against the odds to save people from suffering, and extend the lives of so many people. To me, the accomplishments of these researchers mark the progress of our society.

Is an elected official a better judge of how researchers should conduct their research? Are they better able to determine what research is morally just and what is not? What’s more, if we determine that elected officials should judge the morality of this research, is it right for one elected official to override the views of many elected officials on issues of morality?

If embryonic stem cell research can be such a powerful tool in fighting diseases, I firmly believe the method should be funded by the state. But while my opinion means little, certainly the views of so many elected officials should mean something. How can Bush ignore these views, promoting his own moral code over the views of so many others, including the sick and needy?

It’s hard to determine how quickly this bill will pass through Congress, and thus when it will land on Bush’s desk. But let’s hope that, when that time comes, he can reconsider his objections, and allow the researchers to do their job, to help the people who need help by finding cures to what ails them.

Posted by Scottage at 12:03 AM / | |