During the second round of presidential debates, Elizabeth Long challenged Senator Kerry about his support of further research using embroyonic stem cells:
LONG: Senator Kerry, thousands of people have already been cured or treated by the use of adult stem cells or umbilical cord stem cells. However, no one has been cured by using embryonic stem cells.
Wouldn't it be wide to use stem cells obtained without the destruction of an embryo?
KERRY: You know, Elizabeth, I really respect your -- the feeling that's in your question. I understand it. I know the morality that's prompting that question, and I respect it enormously.
Notice how every time Kerry encounters a position hinting at a religious or moral conviction, he prefaces his response with "I respect you" -- before demonstrating his utter disregard for your position?
Kerry proceeded to name a few celebrities who support his backing of embryonic stem cell research (Michael J. Fox, Christopher Reeves, etc.), and then stated his position:
I think we can do ethically guided embryonic stem-cell research.
We have 100,000 to 200,000 embryos that are frozen in nitrogen today from fertility clinics. These weren't taken from abortion or something like that. They're from a fertility clinic. And they're either going to be destroyed or left frozen.
And I believe if we have the option, which scientists tell us we do, of curing Parkinson's, curing diabetes, curing, you know, some kind of a, you know, paraplegic or quadriplegic or, you know, a spinal cord injury, anything, that's the nature of the human spirit. I think it is respecting life to reach for that cure. I think it is respecting life to do it in an ethical way.
As President Bush proceeded to explain to the audience that the ethical dilemma involved in stem cell research lies in the fact that embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) necessarily involves the destruction of those embryos. Consequently, for one who opposes the destruction of human life on principle, there is simply no way one can go about "ethically" engaging in such research.
. . . Every reporter covering the election should . . . be demanding of Kerry an answer to the following question: Who are the scientists who told you that "we have the option" of curing Parkinson's, diabetes, spinal-cord injuries, or any other disease using embryonic stem cells? If they won't ask him, the Bush campaign should defy him to name the names. He won't be able to do it. No scientists -- even those most pro-Kerry and aggressively in favor of the federal funding of embryo-destructive research -- ever told Kerry any such thing.
What Kerry has done here is told the big lie about embryonic stem cells. The claim that "we have the option" of curing Parkinson's disease, diabetes, etc. with embryonic stem cells is outrageous. No one knows when -- or even whether or not -- human embryonic stem cells will be therapeutically useful in treating any major disease or injury. There are profound -- perhaps insuperable -- problems with the therapeutic use of these cells. So, despite the fact that there is no federal ban on embryonic-stem-cell research, and that such research can be funded with state money and is being publicly funded in various places abroad, no embryonic-stem-cell-based therapy is even in clinical trials.
For months now, the Kerry campaign and its surrogates, such as Ron Reagan Jr., have cruelly led suffering people to believe that cures for their diseases are just around the corner. All we have to do is replace Bush with Kerry, open the federal funding spigot, and presto! The blind see and the lame walk! The Kerry campaign's hyping of embryo-destructive research for political gain is the cruelest and most shameful episode in the story of the 2004 election.
For the sake of new readers who may be joining us, here's a recap of why Kerry's wrong on embroyonic stem cells:
"The Stem-Cell Cover Up", August 18, 2004. A look at the stem-cell cover up and the numerous and phenomenal advances in adult stem-cell research and application, courtesy of Michael Fumento, author of BioEvolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World.
Out of Touch, Michael Fumento rebuts Kerry's support of embryonic stem cells. Citizen Magazine August 2004.
Stem-Cell Defection, by Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review August 16, 2004. "The meeting with [Indiana Congressman] Mark Souder did not go exactly as planned. They didn't persuade Souder to support the funding [for embroyonic stem-cell research]. Instead, he persuaded them to oppose it."