Politics muddying water on stem cell research

Published 10:11 am Friday, September 3, 2010

Science, religion, law and politics continue to collide in the battle over the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth issued an order halting federal funding of medical research using even the derivatives of embryonic stem cells. …

It should be noted that we are talking about zygotes, an egg that has been fertilized in a Petri dish and has divided about six times.

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It is a microscopic group of cells that has not differentiated into brain cells or nerve cells or any anticipated human characteristic, which is what makes these unprogrammed cells important tools in developing therapies or treatments for scores of diseases.

The moral objection to the destruction of zygotes in medical research is a narrow religious argument based on a faith-holding that a divinely infused person is present from the moment of conception, whether that conception takes place in a woman?s body or a laboratory petri dish.

The Obama administration is already pursuing an appeal, as well it should.

Congress, of course, could end the court battle by clarifying the issue legislatively, but don?t count on that, either. Not in the polarized political climate in Washington today.

And not when even Republicans who have supported stem-cell research in the past will run the other way rather than risk alienating the cultural extremists in their party.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator