July 30, 2004

THE STEM CELL ISSUE must be polling really well for the Democrats:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein began her first official national online petition drive in 12 years in the Senate on Thursday in an effort to persuade President Bush to reverse his August 2001 decision that limited federal support for stem cell research.

Feinstein’s drive came after Ron Reagan, son of the former president, addressed the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday and urged greater support for embryonic stem cell research, which advocates say could create treatments or cures for a host of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, the ailment that led to the death in June of former President Ronald Reagan.

Stem-cell opponent Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan) is even getting pushback at home. I think the Democrats are right on this issue, and I’m glad they’re pushing it.

UPDATE: For a contrary view, read this piece by Michael Fumento. I tend to like Fumento, when he’s not calling Rich Hailey fat, but I think that there are two issues here. One is the argument — more-or-less made by Ron Reagan, Jr. — that we’d be curing Alzheimer’s now if it werent’ for those mean old Republicans. That’s rather weak. The other is the argument that we’ll be able to do everything we want with adult stem cells anyway, so there’s no harm in banning research with embryonic stem cells. This may turn out to be true eventually, but I’m not convinced that embryonic stem cell research won’t play an important role in getting us there. It’s a bit like supporting a ban on propeller aircraft in 1930, on the ground that everyone will be flying jets soon anyway. . . .

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