Michael J. Fox, out of the limelight now for quite some time,this week pledged his support for John Kerry.
The reason, Kerry supports stem cell research, while Bush isopposed. “George Bush says we can wait. I say lives are atstake and it’s time for leadership. That’s why Isupport John Kerry for president.” said Michael J. Fox.
Welcome to the politics of embryonic stem cell research, ahighly controversial and debated issue in the world of modernscience.
Embryonic stem cell research is the study of unspecialized cellsthat continue to renew themselves via cell division over extendedperiods of time. The cells are generated through invitrofertilization of an egg and sperm, done mostly at fertility clinicsand then donated to research. They are used when they areapproximately three to five days old at a stage when the cells arereferred to as a blastocyst.
It is believed that with the right physiological andexperimental conditions, the embryonic stem cell can be stimulatedinto becoming specialized, thus potentially enabling science andresearch to reach new heights in disease prevention and care.
Use of this technology is widely applicable: cell-basedtherapies, screenings of new drugs, understanding birth defects,treating Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, spinal cordinjuries, strokes, burns, heart disease, and diabetes.
The list of uses for stem cell research is endless. So what doesall this mean?
Modern technology and new research are enabling us to go waybeyond what was ever thought possible. I say it’s time for apresident who supports this rather than one who hides behindnotions of troublesome funding, or inappropriate allocation ofresources (i.e. scientific researchers, specialists, equipment),and of course ethics.
Probably the biggest debate over stem cell research concernswhether or not it is ethical. Are we supporting the killing of whatwould potentially be human life, or are we saving lives?
Perhaps I should enlighten you to the fact that all of theresearch that has been done on stem cells, to date, has beenconducted on, I say it again, donated cells. And let’s notforget that in order for life to continue from the stage of ablastocyst, you need a human host.
Actually in most cases donated cells would otherwise bedestroyed, their purpose no longer relevant once couplesconceive.
I ask is it ethical for a government to infringe on our civilliberties and decide whether or not willing people can take part inresearch that could potentially help millions and save lives?
Michael J. Fox does not think so, and he supports a candidatewho has the interests of the people (their rights and rights offuture generations) at heart, and I for one am on thisbandwagon.