Opponents of ES cell research launch stealth attack in Minnesota

I blogged before about how Oklahoma Legislators were heading toward passing legislation that would make it a crime to do ES cell research. Unfortunately, that legislation just passed.

As if that were not bad enough, now potentially life saving research in Minnesota is starting to come under attack.  A Minnesota anti-abortion group is pushing legislation, which very well may pass, to ban human cloning.   The hidden agenda here is to ultimately make ES cell research itself illegal. James Nord of the MinnPost.Com online newspaper has written an article on this quoting yours truly and also my good friend Meri Firpo, who is on the front lines in Minnesota.

What is going on in Oklahoma and Minnesota and other states is that anti-abortion extremists are targeting ES cell research for legislative bans at the state level. Even if federal law becomes clarified allowing stable federal funding of ES cell research, if states ban ES cell research it becomes extremely difficult for researchers to continue because even if said researchers have federal funding, state funds go into infrastructure (electricity, etc) that could not be used to conduct ES cell research. It is important to once again emphasize that ES cell research has nothing to do with abortion by any stretch of the imagination.  The blastocyst embryos used to make ES cell lines are leftover from fertility procedures and their only potential fates are to stay frozen forever or be discarded (which is what usually happens). These embryos were created in a dish and were never part of any pregnancy.

6 Comments


  1. Paul,

    I have followed your blog for a while as I run a support website here in the UK for a vision disorder, and (naturally) have a keen interest in stem cell research – the recent launch of clinical trials for RPE replacement is of special interest.

    However, my question is this: Why does it seem that all we hear from the US is opposition to hESC research? I’m wondering if you can convey the mindset (whilst of course I appreciate you don’t represent the views of everyone!) – recently the company involved in the eyesight trials (ACT) have been at pains to point out that human embryos are not destroyed in the extraction of cells. You yourself have pointed out in this thread that the embryos are discarded and are not slated to be used in any other way.

    So what is it? Is it just ignorance or that people think they speak for God in some way? Or maybe this is just the standard “rejection of current science” which has followed us down the ages.

    I know a few of my members on the site have similar questions (i.e. why would some humans be cruel enough not want other humans to benefit from this research).

    Hope you can shed some light.

    Kind Regards,

    Dave.


  2. Just thought a bit about my previous comment – I hope you won’t think it came across anti-US, apologies if it seemed that way.

    Dave.


  3. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for your comments.
    Your question “What is it?” is a good one, but the answer is complicated. I think for some opponents of the research (Republican Congresspeople), their motivation is political. For some it may be based on misinformation. For others, science more generally is an enemy because it requires a fact-based view of the universe. I wish I had a better answer.
    Paul


  4. Paul,

    Thanks for the reply – and yes I know it was a difficult question!

    Well, I sure hope there are more out there with your views than those who are against it. We need more high profiles such as Christopher Reeve’s Foundation and Michael J Fox to bring the message about stem cells in to the masses – it seems we live in a world where people will listen more to celebrities than to doctors or scientists(!)

    I saw your blog on being one of the very few in the field who actively post about this research. Congrats for sticking your head above the parapet – long may you continue…

    Regards,
    Dave.

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