Second-Day Stem-Cell Commentary

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 20, 2006 10:26 AM
I said yesterday:

Wouldn't it make it a lot harder for the Dems to bring out the
afflicted-with-various-diseases (who carry a whole bunch of moral
authority with the public whether we think they necessarily should or
not) and to accuse Bush of heartlessness and playing to the base if he
had simply shown the same determination to veto other kinds of spending
before now? I think it's unfortunate, both for his stand on stem-cell
research, and for the federal budget that he didn't.

Maybe he will
start now. After all, that wasn't so hard, and it seems it will work.

Glenn Reynolds, who thinks the Pres was wrong to veto, has the same thoughts on the political consequences of having vetoed nothing before now.

The Anchoress hunts down a NYT piece, which counters the Dems' contention that embryonic stem cells can seamlessly cure all of mankind's diseases within months (I mean, that's pretty much what they were saying yesterday in debate.):

A study that attempted to treat Parkinson’s disease by implanting
cells from aborted fetuses into patients’ brains not only failed to
show an overall benefit but also revealed a disastrous side effect,
scientists report.

In about 15% of patients, the cells apparently grew too well,
churning out so much of a chemical that controls movement that the
patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably. The researchers say there
is no way to remove or deactivate the transplanted cells...

“They chew constantly, their fingers go up and down, their wrists
flex and distend,” he said. And the patients writhe and twist, jerk
their heads, fling their arms about.”It was tragic, catastrophic,”
Greene said. “It’s a real nightmare. And we can’t selectively turn it
off.”
The Anchoress also addressed (eloquently, as usual) the press' dishonesty on this issue yesterday.

Capt. Ed had this to say about the veto:

Undoubtedly, we will hear plenty from critics that Bush has
endangered the health of Americans through his veto, a conclusion
bordering on the absurd. Putting aside the fact that we shouldn't grind
up humans to save other humans, this veto doesn't ban any kind of
research at all. It just makes human embryonic stem-cell (hESC)
research ineligible for federal funding. It's not a ban, and in fact
that research has never been banned within the US.

The lack of federal funding should make little difference, if the science is sound for hESC.
It's not, or at least it isn't commercially viable, which is why
researchers want the federal government to pay for it. Pharmaceuticals
won't underwrite it because adult stem cells and umbilical-cord stem
cells have had much more success. They have produced actual medical
treatments, where hESCs have had little real success. California
planned on spending $2 billion on ESC, and we have yet to hear of any
breakthroughs from that research.