Medical Technology

Why the American Government should Fund Stem Cell Research



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Of course the government should fund stem cell research. I honestly don't see how there can even be an argument made against it. There are millions of people who are affected by diseases and trauma that could one day reap the benefits of such research. When President Bush vetoed the embryonic stem cell research bill in September of 2006, he said it was because it "crossed a moral boundary." This coming from a guy who launched an invasion/occupation, based on lies, into Iraq. Just prior to his televised announcement to the world in which he said he had ordered "Shock and Awe" he pumped his fist in the air and said, "feel good" knowing his decision to invade would result in death and destruction to a country that was of no threat to the United States. His war has caused the deaths of thousands of American troops and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children. The Iraq war/occupation is expected to cost over a trillion dollars! Yet President Bush feels it is immoral to use stem cells for research which could help save the lives and minds of countless Americans? His argument doesn't wash. How can it be moral to fund a war of aggression and not fund research that has such a great potential for saving lives?

Most of us in one way or another will be affected by a disease or injury to a loved one or friend or even ourselves at some time in our lives. People who could be helped with stem cell research. Stem cells offer a source to replace injured cells resulting from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries, strokes, burns, and diabetes.

I have an interest in this research because my mother-in-law has Alzheimer's. And yes, it is very personal to me. It is to everybody who has to watch someone they love suffer the consequences of such a horrific disease. Over the last seven years I have watched this woman who was once a vivacious, intelligent person regress into having the mental capacity of a small child. While she recognizes my husband as being a familiar face, she is not aware that he is her son. She has no clue that she has grandchildren which she once adored and doted on. She lives in a home for people with memory loss. There are about 50 residents there in various stages of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. These are people for which it is too late to benefit from stem cells but there will literally be millions of people in the future that could have an entirely different outcome if that research were to take place.

Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that developed from eggs fertilized in vitro, not in a woman's body. The donors consent to their use for research purposes. The embryos are only about four or five days old when the cells are extracted. At that time the embryos are just a microscopic ball of cells called a blastocyst. However, they are valuable to research because they have the ability to change into a greater variety of cells than adult stem cells.

But these blastocysts are still just a small clump of cells. They have never thrown a baseball, played with a puppy, fallen in love, or cradled a baby. They have never hugged a friend, gone to a wedding, or mourned the loss of a loved one. Nor have they laughed or cried or felt any of the other emotions that make us human. To place more value on microscopic clumps of cells than on human beings is reprehensible.

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