A Weekend Dose Of Stem Cell Politics

Some thoughts to chew over for those of you with a political bent, found at the end of a fairly wonkish article at Newsweek:

For a country accustomed to leading the world in medical research, the loss of momentum for the biotech industry together with the human cost of the stalled research is prompting a fresh attempt at legislation on Capitol Hill. Republican Mike Castle of Delaware and Democrat Diana DeGette of Colorado are introducing the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005," which would allow federally funded researchers to use embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics if patients agree to offer them for research. The lawmakers introduced the same bill last year and believed they had enough votes for passage.

Republican leader Tom DeLay refused to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote, and he is playing the same game this time. The current bill has 156 cosponsors in the House and the support of such staunch Senate Republicans as Orrin Hatch of Utah. It would easily pass in both the House and Senate if it weren't for the stranglehold the right has on Bush and the GOP. If ever there was an issue where Democrats could borrow a page from Norquist's playbook and unite under a single winning banner, this is it.

Politicians only seem able to "fix" a problem of their own creation by piling it on higher and deeper. Politicians and other agents of the state cannot create - all they can do is obstruct and destroy. Meanwhile, private funding for research into curing age-related conditions continues to be deterred by the threat of criminalization. Meanwhile, millions continue to suffer and die.

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