In the past few years, stem cell transplants have successfully treated leukemia, tissue and skin have been grown from stem cells for skin grafts, and much more. Good thing there has been a lot of political funding for stem cells! What about all those people who hated stem cell research? They stopped it, and killed all those people, didn’t they? In reality, The United States Government does fund stem cell research. It funds all stem cell research obtained from umbilical cords or peripheral blood. The NIH even has several projects using embryonic stem cells that are funded with United States treasury dollars. In fact, these projects were never illegal. President Bush made them legal in 2001. Then, in 2009, President Obama expanded the description of qualifying stem cells.
It is true, however, that there is a lot of controversy surrounding stem cell research. There are good reasons for this: loyal citizens of the United States have real religious concerns about their tax money funding stem cell research. It is not so much umbilical stem cells, or even the less-talked-about peripheral blood stem cells that they are worried about. It is the fetal stem cells that frighten them. They have their reasons. If you are concerned about abortion, you would probably be concerned about someone getting pregnant and having an abortion for the sole purpose of selling the stem cells. You might say, “That would never happen.” You can easily remember all those people in your college days who sold their plasma twice a week for a few hundred dollars. Why is producing and selling stem cells so different?
So, maybe they are actually concerned about something real. This does not justify denying possible, life-saving cures from being developed. But we just learned that they were not stopped. Stem Cells are one of the most common research tools, and one of the most common treatments for leukemia. In fact, the World Marrow Donor Association records that in 2009, more stem cell transplants than bone marrow transplants were attempted to treat leukemia.
But if we have all of these wonderful things happening from stem cells, wouldn’t it follow that you could have even more wonderful things? The answer is a solid, “Maybe.” The question then becomes, “Who is holding up research now? Those who didn’t want the embryonic cells? Or those who refuse to move forward with what they can use?”