The Hartford Courant 4/27/04

TIMID OR DENSE ON STEM CELLS?

 

Shame on Connecticut legislators, who have shelved the stem cell bill for further study, citing confusion over the issue.

There was plenty of testimony available to explain the value of stem cell research and answer questions. Scientists and other advocates of research held hearings on more than one occasion to enlighten lawmakers on why embryonic stem cells can be more effective in healing than adult stem cells. They explained the potential of curing disease with these basic human building blocks that are capable of developing into every type of human cell, opening the door for repair of damaged organs and systems.

There was even a firsthand testimonial on stem cell therapy by Rep. Lawrence G. Miller, a Stratford Republican whose cancer is in remission because he was treated with life-giving stem cells harvested from his own blood.

Each year, legislators learn about very complex issues in order to decide how to vote. Legislators have no compunction about voting on a $13 billion-plus budget when it is almost certain no one has looked closely at every line item or provision. They frequently vote on bills bearing amendments hastily attached without benefit of a hearing.

Playing the confusion card on the stem cell issue is really lame.

The facts are well known:

Embryonic stem cells have the potential to cure disease and end suffering for tens of millions of people who have Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Embryos are created in a laboratory dish. Unless they are implanted in a woman, chances are nil that they will result in a human being.

Embryos already are discarded routinely in the process of test-tube fertilization for couples with fertility problems, so why not make use of their potential to save lives?

This bill, modeled after similar laws in California and New Jersey, would have sent a message to top-notch scientists that Connecticut is a good place to work on cutting-edge medical research. Instead, state legislators opted to tell them that although Connecticut is the most educated state in the nation, has top research universities, pharmaceutical giants, biotech laboratories and all the ingredients for discovery, its political leadership is too timid or too dense to tackle this important issue.

Paid for by YES on 71: Coalition for Stem Cell Research and Cures, #1260661
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