Saturday, October 02, 2004

The stem cell controversy

Doing research on Kerry's vs. Bush's views on stem cell research--a topic I chose because it seems to be one of the most important steps in science and medicine in recent years. Frankly, I don't agree much with either candidate on this issue; if I had to choose, I would I suppose side with Kerry because he purports to support the research.

But I'm loath to stand behind him fully, because I wonder if perhaps Kerry only "supports" the research as a way to gain voters--his indecisiveness on so many issues has made me wary of where he true views might lie. I do think, however, that Bush has severely restricted the potential good that can come from stem cells; they can be grown into almost any organ or tissue, and have endless uses.

There is of course the worry that parents with a sick child might conceive another embryo for the purpose of aborting it to harvest the stem cells--this is a horrific thought that cannot be allowed to happen. Nevertheless, many abortions are still performed in which the embryonic stem cells are wasted; unused embryos created for in vitro fertilization are thrown away daily; and also stem cells can be harvested in a much less controversial way--from umbilical cords that are, of course, cut off anyway. I think that major hospitals should have banks of stem cells (because they must match the recipient on many levels) taken from embryos and umbilical cords; and women undergoing abortions should have the opportunity to donate (NOT sell) their embryos to these banks anonymously. A great good could come from this.

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