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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Broken Campaign Promises - Already

During the campaign, Barack Obama promised to cut federally funded programs that don’t work. During the first debate he said, “And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely. ...We've got to eliminate programs that don't work..."

In the second debate he repeated his pledge to cut spending by eliminating programs that don’t work: “I want to go line by line through every item in the federal budget and eliminate programs that don't work ..."

And just in case anyone still didn’t understand that a President Obama would not be wasting money on programs that don’t work, here’s what he said in the third debate : “We need to eliminate a whole host of programs that don't work. And I want to go through the federal budget line by line, page by page, programs that don't work, we should cut.”

Sounds good to me. The only problem is that instead of eliminating programs that don’t work, he’s already talking about new funding for a program that doesn’t work. That program is embryonic stem cell research.

The key word is embryonic, the kind of stem cell research that requires the destruction of living human embryos. It also happens to be the kind of stem cell research that has hit some major scientific roadblocks.

There is, however, a kind of stem cell research that shows great promise: adult stem cell research, the kind of stem cell research that does not require the destruction of human embryos.

Adult stem cells are already being used to treat dozens of diseases including leukemias, lymphomas, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and lupus, just to name a few. How many diseases are currently being treated by embryonic stem cells? The answer is zero.

There are also currently more than 1,300 human clinical trials underway using adult stem cells. How many clinical trials are being conducted using embryonic stem cells? Again, the answer is zero. The only tests being conducted with embryonic stem cells are being conducted on laboratory animals.

The reason for the disparity between the successes of adult vs. embryonic stem cell research is not funding. There is funding for and there is research being done with embryonic stem cells. The reason for the disparity is that there are some major scientific barriers to using embryonic stem cells. One problem is that, because of rapid growth when injected, embryonic stem cells produce tumors in the patient. Another problem is that, even if the tumor problem could be overcome, embryonic stem cells tend to be rejected by the body’s immune system. Neither of these problems exists with adult stem cells.

So on one hand, we have embryonic stem cell research, with major complications that researchers have thus far not been able to overcome, and with serious ethical debate due to the required destruction of human embryos.

On the other hand, we have adult stem cell research, with no major scientific barriers to success, with already successful treatment of various diseases in humans, with over a thousand human clinical trials already underway, and with no ethical debate.

Now we have a president-elect, who pledged during the campaign not to spend money on programs that don't work, indicating that one of his first moves as president will be to increase spending on a program that appears not to work. It is a program that, at best, is many years from producing positive results. It is a program that, because of ethical concerns, does not unite Americans. Indeed, it divides us further.

It seems to me that a president who campaigned on being a uniter and who promised not to spend money wastefully would focus federal research money on the kind of stem cell research that has produced actual medical success and that is free of divisive ethical concerns.

But that's just me.


Blogger SkyePuppy said...

...with serious ethical debate due to the required destruction of human embryos.

Not to mention the serious ethical (should-be) debate over the exploitation of young women for their eggs. The process of hastening the maturation of eggs for harvest is risky to the health of the young women, but researchers and supporters of embryonic stem-cell research don't seem to care.

And the left slams the right for not caring about women!

1:23 PM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

-The process of hastening the maturation of eggs for harvest is risky to the health of the young women

If they were to worry about the health risk to women, that would discourage embryonic research, which would go against their pro-abortion agenda.

8:47 AM  
Blogger SkyePuppy said...

Exactly! They're looking for something--anything--to justify abortion, so they can say, "See? We were right to do this."

10:27 AM  

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