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Reversing the Bush Ban On Government Funded Stem Cell Research

By James Donahue

The day we began to understand the damage the Bush presidency was going to impose on the United States was August 9, 2001, when the American people (still stinging over the issue of whether Bush and the Supreme Court had stolen the presidency from Democrat Al Gore) watched Mr. Bush announce his decision to ban spending government money for stem cell research.

It was a matter of ethics, Bush said. He explained how, because of his faith in Jesus, he believed that it would be murder to use living stem cells in human parthenogenetic blastocysts for laboratory research. In spite of attempts by the Republican controlled House and Senate to bring changes to this policy, they always lacked the votes to get past the president’s veto pen.

Now that is term is coming to a close, Mr. Bush recently revealed in an interview on ABC's Nightline that he never was serious about his so-called faith. Apparently it was all a hoax to help get him elected.

Thus this president, who later  had no problem sending military force into Afghanistan and Iraq where our bombs and shells have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children not to mention over 4,000 of our own troops; who would advocate cruel torture of so-called prisoners of war and approve the dismantling of the U.S. Constitution and the striking of laws designed to protect the environment, has used his veto pen to thwart medical research to relieve suffering among hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Stem cell research continued through the help of private grants and other special funding, but it lacked the full financial support of American tax dollars. Consequently cures for cancer, diabetes, cycle cell anemia, heart disease and a variety of other genetic and inherited human physical disorders has been slowed. All because Mr. Bush believed those little blastocysts, many found in the placenta cut from newborn babies and discarded, were living cells that must be protected.

Consequently medical research in America has suffered from eight-years of set-back, while the research has been advancing at full speed throughout Europe, South Korea and other places in the world. If you can afford to go to Switzerland and live there for a year or two, we understand doctors there can use new technology to help patients grow some new organs, body parts like ears, and even teeth using cells from their own bodies. But this medical science is still in its infancy.

Fortunately Americans came to their senses in 2008. They not only elected a man who appears to have all of the earmarks of being an outstanding leader, but there was a number of people in the Democratic camps, media and in general political circles keeping a close eye on how this last presidential election was conducted. The cheating was cut down to a minimum. Some of the senate races are still being contested.

President-elect Barack Obama has promised, among other things, to lift the Bush ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines. While he can do this quickly, with the stroke of a pen just as Bush stopped the spending, legislators are also talking about introducing bills that would put a new policy into law. It no longer is a question of “if” we will have government support for new cell-based therapies in America, but “when.”

For many Americans, this new cutting-edge medical technology can’t come soon enough. The best we have today is donor-derived tissues and organs like hearts, kidneys, eyes and other parts that our bodies fight because they are not our own.

The amazing science of creating new hearts, fingers, ears, teeth, lungs and kidneys from stem cells derived from unfertilized donor eggs, or from the bone marrow within our own bodies, and being able to replace worn-out or diseased body parts before the condition kills us, has been in our immediate future for too long now. The eight-long Bush years created a terrible delay that has cost an untold amount of human suffering and death.

Now that the massive road block is about to be removed, scientists working in the area of genetic research can foresee a day when humans can live longer, healthier and more productive lives without suffering the rigors of worn-out joints, teeth, hearts and eyes. There is still a lot of work to be done before such things can be possible.