May 12, 2006


A win-win option on stem cells: Specter-Santorum bill promotes research that doesn't require killing human embryos (Robert P. George, 5/09/06, Philadelphia Inquirer)

For nearly four decades, our nation has been bitterly divided over the question of abortion. In recent years, a closely related issue has arisen to further divide us: the use of human embryos in research involving their destruction. Often the competing sides in these debates have been unwilling or, as a strict matter of conscience, unable to cooperate with each other in the search for solutions that both sides can accept.

On the issue of embryonic stem-cell research, however, it seems increasingly clear that there are such solutions.

Arlen Specter, a leader of the pro-choice forces who has been one of the Senate's most vigorous advocates of embryonic stem-cell research, and Rick Santorum, a champion of the pro-life cause who has staunchly opposed the destruction of human embryos in biomedical research, have united in an effort to find sources of "pluripotent" stem cells - cells having the remarkable flexibility that characterizes embryonic cells - that do not require killing human embryos.

The Pennsylvania Republicans are offering Americans a win-win option: Stem-cell science can go forward full speed ahead, but in a way that is consistent with the consciences of most Americans.

Specter and Santorum have sponsored a bill that would provide federal funding for promising lines of research that may enable scientists, without substantial delay, to develop stable, long-lived and fully pluripotent stem-cell lines. And these lines would not involve producing or destroying human embryos.

Can it really be possible that science itself will provide a solution to the embryonic stem-cell debate? Evidence from the laboratories gives us every reason for optimism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2006 6:39 PM
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