Stem Cell Debate
I'm taking a break from my normal posts to voice something I feel very strongly
about. Bush has an incredibly large decision on his shoulders: should we
use stem cells of human embryos for research? YES! YES! YES! Embryonic stem
cell research is necessary to aid in finding a cure for diseases such as
Huntington's, ALS, Parkinson's, etc. So what is the debate if it will help
cure all of these diseases? Many feel that using embryos for this research
is a form of abortion. Oh lord, here we go. As most of you know I am strongly
pro-choice. BUT I don't even see this as a form of abortion.
Here is a good quote from Christopher Reeve: ""Is it more ethical for a woman
to donate unused embryos that will never become human beings, or to let them
be tossed away as so much garbage when they could help save thousands of
lives? While we prolong the stem-cell debate, millions continue to suffer.
Exactly. Call me selfish on this issue, maybe I am. My life is at risk for
Huntington's disease. My future could be dependent on stem cell research.
Though I am not the only one. Every disease that affects the brain will benefit
from this research. That will affect millions, possibly a billion people
worldwide. But according to those right wing religious fanatics, I will go
to hell if I support this. Fine, send me to hell. I am willing to go there
for this cause. I have seen so many lives ruined by Huntington's disease.
I won't stand for it anymore.
So Bush has this tough decision on his shoulders. The man can barely put
a sentence together and all of these lives are put in his hands. Again, I
say lordy. I know Clinton would have known what to do in this situation.
We need to help push him in the right direction. This is a letter written
by the HDSA to President Bush. Personal letters are also encouraged. I know
I will be writing mine this weekend. Please take the time to read this and
put some thought into this issue.
July 18, 2001
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20502
Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
Dear President Bush,
The Board of Trustees of the Huntington's Disease Society of America have
authorized and directed us to write you to urge your
support for federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited degenerative brain disorder that
slowly robs the affected individual of the ability to
perform the most basic of activities--to walk, talk, think, and reason. It
affects about 30,000 Americans, with about 150,000
more directly at risk. HD usually strikes during the prime of life, but symptoms
and age of onset vary from individual to
individual, and it can attack in childhood or in old age. The gene whose
mutation causes HD has been identified, but there is no
effective therapy. The person with HD--and his or her family--often suffer
through years of emotional and cognitive problems that
can be more difficult to deal with than the movement disorder. Each child
watching his or her parent suffer knows that he or she
also has a fifty percent chance of inheriting HD.
HDSA is committed to making this the last generation with HD. But to make
good on our promise to our families and ourselves, we
need to know more about the origin and development of HD at the cell level.
Human embryonic stem cell research holds the
potential for the creation of cells, which will help us understand HD at
the cellular level, and screen for possible drugs that
might block the disease process. Most remarkably, human embryonic stem cell
research offers the hope for the development of
therapy to actually replace the degenerating nerve cells--and potentially
restore the functions lost as brain tissue atrophies.
Furthermore, the hope of scientists is that this research will prove beneficial
to the many millions of sufferers from Alzheimer's
disease, Parkinson's disease, Diabetes, and other conditions.
Our scientists tell us that it is not likely that stem cells derived from
adult tissues will have the same research and
therapeutic potential as cells derived from early embryos. Federal
funding, and Federal oversight--either by NIH guidelines, or federal law--will
help ensure that researchers can explore the many
promises of human embryonic stem cell research, with appropriate guidelines
to address the admittedly difficult legal, social and
ethical issues raised by this important research tool.
With each passing day, the HD gene destroys a bit more of the brain, and
the individuality, of the person with HD. Our families,
and the families of individuals suffering from other neurodegenerative diseases,
do not have time to wait. Human embryonic stem
cell research holds the potential of accelerating our search, and bringing
closer the day we can fulfill our promise of making
this the last generation with HD.
We respectfully request that you support the federal funding of human embryonic
stem cell research.
Donald A. King, Ph.D. Barbara T. Boyle
Chair, Board of Trustees National Executive Director/CEO