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Russell Shaw Headshot

It's a Discarded Blastocyst, Bush, Not a Child

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stemcellanicia.jpg

I've been toggling through the radio dial today. I have to tell you, the fundamentalists and more than a few evangelicals are absolutely ecstatic that President Bush vetoed the bill today that would authorize federally funded stem cell research.

Oh, yea, this is the "family values" President. But what about if, just a few years down the line a "family" member of any of you Bible-thumpers dies of a disease that robust embryonic stem cell research initiatives could have found a cure for? As her moans echo off the hospice walls, are you going to tell your grandmother, mother wife, sister, aunt, uncle or whomever hey, tough luck but my President voted against funding research into a possible cure for this because,after all, he is a Christian?

For all you Bush supporters who think he is for family values, let me tell you about the photo on the left and the one on the right.

On the left, that's an embryonic stem cell. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, which is an early stage embryo - approximately 4 to 5 days old in humans - consisting of 50-150 cells.

And no it is not a child. It is a discarded blastocyst, a hollow microscopic ball left over from an in vitro fertilization attempt.

Embryonic stem cells, by their fungability and flexibility to be grown into various forms, represnt the ideal material for stem cell research.

According to Wikipedia (which, by the way, is a lot more scientifically well informed than the book you purport to live by, President Bush):

"Medical researchers believe that stem cell research has the potential to change the face of human disease and alleviate suffering. A number of current treatments already exist, although the majority of them are not commonly used because they tend to be experimental and not very cost-effective. Medical researchers anticipate being able to use technologies derived from stem cell research to treat cancer, spinal cord injuries, and muscle damage, amongst a number of other diseases, impairments and conditions."

Notice the word "cancer."

On the right is Anicia. She was my love, and she died of cancer.

She passed before the promise of stem cell research became apparent, but that's not the point.

How many more will succumb to diseases and injuries that properly funded embryonic stem cell research could find a cure for?