Janet M. LaRue

It was the Wizard who, after their initial visit, told Dorothy and her friends that she had to bring him the Wicked Witch's broom in order to get what they wanted. When they return with the broom, Dorothy's dog, Toto, knocks over the Wizard's screen, exposing him as a befuddled and powerless little man. And after all they'd been through, he couldn't provide a heart to the Tin Man, a spine to the cowardly lion or a brain to the scarecrow.

By appropriating millions of federal dollars to ESCR instead of adult stem cell research (ASCR) with proven results, Congress is delaying real hope and real cures for suffering people. If ESCR is as promising as the claims, drug companies would invest their own money in it, rather than asking Congress for ours.

After promising Dorothy he could get her back to Kansas in his hot air balloon, the Wizard launches it without her. When Dorothy screams for him to come back, he shouts, "I can't come back! I don't know how it works!" The congressional wizards should be so honest.

Once the door to unethical scientific experimentation is opened, monstrosities materialize. The cloning of lab animals has led to spontaneous abortion and terrible abnormalities.

Once the federal funding balloon is launched for ESCR, it will be even more difficult to keep the cloning balloon tethered to terra firma. If Congress doesn't intend to permit human cloning, it should have banned it by now. Instead, the House of Representatives voted down an amendment to H.R. 3, the ESCR funding bill, which would have banned cloning.

Children's tales need happy endings, and happiness abounds at the end of Oz. The Scarecrow has a brain, the Tin Man's heart is beating, the Lion is courageous and Dorothy is chanting, "There's no place like home" after clicking together her ruby slippers.

Dorothy's friends achieved their dreams of wholeness from within themselves. Likewise, by using stem cells found in our own bodies, rather than embryos, we can find cures for diseases and injuries. Nobody has to die.

For example, a California man's symptoms of Parkinson's disease have largely disappeared after doctors treated him with stem cells from his own brain. At last count, ASCR has shown promise in treating nearly 70 diseases.

The following sources of stem cells have been identified, as cited in The Whole Truth about Stem Cell Research, by William L. Saunders, Jr., and Charles A. Donovan:

  • Fat: transformable into cartilage, muscle and bone;

  • Bone marrow: transformable into smooth muscle, cardiac tissue, neural cells, liver, bone, cartilage and fat;

  • Neural tissue: can differentiate into skeletal muscle and all neural cell types;

  • Skeletal muscle: transformable into skeletal myotubes, smooth muscle, bone, cartilage and fat;

  • Dental pulp: transformable into tooth structures;

  • Placenta: can be induced to form bone, nerve, cartilage, bone marrow, muscle, tendon and blood vessels.

ESCR advocates in Congress "don't know how it works," yet they are intent upon taking us down the Yellow Brick Road from which we will never "come back."

If you want real hope and help for those suffering from disease or in need of organ replacement, tell Congress to launch its funding balloon in the right direction - toward ASCR. Tell them that the destruction of innocent human life is a road on which "I'd turn back if I were you!"

Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.

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