A Harvard University advance in generating embryonic stem cells may have the unintended consequence of hindering congressional efforts to lift research restrictions imposed by President Bush four years ago, leaders on both sides of the issue said yesterday as details of the discovery traveled through the scientific and political communities.
The news that Harvard scientists have successfully converted human skin cells into embryonic stem cells — without using a human egg or new embryo — is likely to muddle the already complex debate over federal stem cell research policy.
If anything, this latest discovery allows for stem cells to be harvested without destruction of life which has long been a point of contention for pro-lifers. However, it’s this paragraph that gets to the heart of the issue:
Embryonic stem cells hold the promise of treatment or cures for a range of diseases and injuries because they can grow into any type of cell or tissue. However, many conservatives, including Bush, object to the approach because existing methods of extracting the cells involve destroying young embryos called blastocysts.
Can you name any breakthrough as a result of continued embryonic stem cell research? You probably can’t because there hasn’t been one even though the United States leads the way in funding research (bet you didn’t know that either).
The myth that is being perpetuated by the media in stories such as this is that embryonic stem cell research is necessary to find cures for otherwise incurable diseases. They also contend that embryonic stem cells are superior to adult stem cells even though research suggests the opposite is true.
The fact is that millions of dollars are spent on research that has yet to produce any tangible results. Why should taxpayer dollars be used to continue to fund this research especially when life is destroyed in the process? They shouldn’t and the President is right to continue to stand against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. This latest development, if it proves fruitful, could render the whole debate over embryonic stem cells moot.