I thought that this article by Patti Davis, Nancy Regan's daughter, on the topic of embryonic stem cell research was worth pointing out. It is good to see that the sane view is getting more column inches these days:
There is a possible cure waiting in the wings for people with juvenile diabetes, Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson's, heart disease, cancer, as well as spinal-cord injuries. It's called stem-cell research.
On the night of May 8, my mother, Nancy Reagan, was given an award for caregiving at a Beverly Hills fund-raiser for stem-cell research. "We have lost so much time," she said when accepting her award. "I just can't bear to lose any more." It was a star-studded event, but everyone there was clear about one thing: Disease doesn't care about fame, or wealth or even youth. It just is.
Approximately 128 million individuals could benefit from stem-cell applications, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The number is probably higher, and as time goes by, it will grow higher still. Imagine the fear that would strike you if you were given a diagnosis that was, basically, a life sentence.
My family has watched my father, once called "The Great Communicator," vanish into the shadows of Alzheimer's; we are only one of many families who know the cruelty of this disease. My mother has taken her sorrow, her loss, and stood up for the one cure that can prevent people in the future from knowing this agony. George W. Bush, though he may want to try, can never stand in the way of people who want to banish the diseases that are stealing so much.
The article ends on this note, and I agree with it wholeheartedly:
People's desire to live healthy, whole lives will prevail in the end. There is a cure out there. We all know it. We will reach past any mere political obstacles to grab onto it and make it a reality. A messy, horrible war that has spun out of control could very well determine the next election. So should the miracle of stem-cell research - a miracle the Bush White House thinks it can block. It's too late for my father. At the fund-raiser last week, my mother told the audience that "Ronnie's long journey has finally taken him to a distant place where I can no longer reach him." But those of us who have stood helplessly at bedsides or shuddered at our own diagnosis - those who have woken up to learn they would never walk again - have something to say about the very real promise of a miraculous cure: nothing can stop us from reaching for it.
This is the essence of medical research - the will that explains why it is done at all, whether for cancer, Alzheimer's, or to stop the aging process itself. This is why people devote lifetimes to medicine. It is our humanity and our ability to do good at work.
So much suffering and death in the world is caused by the ugly realities of the present day human condition: we can do better.