Point/counterpoint: In the name of science

David Chen

David Chen

By Chuck Prochaska

When Ron Reagan, son of President Reagan, addressed the Democratic National Convention to drum up support for Sen. John Kerry, he claimed he wasn’t playing politics. Instead, he said he was only trying to sell the public on the promises of stem-cell research. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought President Bush was not only against stem-cell research, but that he also had not addressed the issue during his first four years. But that is simply not true.

Stem-cell research is arguably the most complex, jargon-filled issue in U.S. politics. However, the terms can be broken down rather simply. Stem cells are generic cells that can grow into other types of cells. They can be harvested from adults (adult stem cells) and the umbilical cords (umbilical stem cells) of newborn babies. Doctors believe stem cells, if manipulated properly, could cure diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

However, an alternate form of obtaining stem cells is to extract them from a viable human embryo (embryonic stem cells), thereby killing the embryo. When taken further, the same process could be used to clone human beings – creating a “designer set” of stem cells to cure any ailment at any point in life. Imagine clones of Sen. Ted Kennedy running around Washington writing excessive health-care legislation from now until the end of time. This must not be allowed to happen.

Bombthrower Adam Zmick breaks liberal form to claim that humans should not “play God,” that we should learn to “accept disease” as a part of life. Under these misguided notions, the use of flu shots or hepatitis vaccines also would qualify as “playing God.” Should we let children contract and suffer from polio? Obviously not.

Here’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Demonstrating his commitment to progressive scientific research, President Bush was the first president to ever approve of federal funding for adult and umbilical stem cell research. In 2001, he guaranteed $250 million in taxpayer funding for the President’s Council on Stem Cell Research. However, he left written law fairly open for privately funded embryonic stem-cell research to continue.

Liberal groups like Planned Parenthood are required to support John Kerry and distort the facts on Bush’s groundbreaking stem-cell agenda. After bombardment with left-wing propaganda, most people associate stem-cell research with the Republican Party’s pro-life stance and incorrectly cast Bush as an anti-stem cell president.

True, the president rejects embryonic stem-cell research based on his resolve to protect human life at any stage. However, the president and the GOP have committed to advancing other stem cell research in the 2004 party platform: “We especially welcome and encourage a stronger emphasis on adult stem cell and cord-blood stem-cell research, which already has provided benefits to hundreds of patients and provides real promise for treatments to help millions of Americans.”

God has made man in His image with a powerful mind capable of amazing discoveries. Stem-cell research will yield incredible advancements in medicine for our generation thanks to President Bush’s reconciliation of moral guidance and scientific breakthrough.

Chuck Prochaska is a sophomore in LAS. He is a guest columnist. He is the vice president of College Republicans. He can be reached at [email protected]