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October 5, 2004
Kerry's Incoherence On Stem Cells Continues

Dragging out Michael J. Fox and a father with insulin syringes, John Kerry again misrepresented the current policy on stem-cell research in a stump appearance yesterday:

John F. Kerry charged Monday that President Bush has "turned his back on science" in limiting embryonic stem cell research financed by the federal government.

The Kerry campaign rolled out a television ad on the subject, saying that "millions of lives" are at stake, as the Democratic presidential nominee was joined by actor and activist Michael J. Fox at a town-hall-style meeting here.

"It's time to lift the political barriers blocking the stem cell research that could treat or cure diseases like Parkinson's," the ad says. "I believe that science can bring hope to our families."

Let's review this one more time:

1. There is no ban on stem-cell research of any kind.
2. There is no ban on embryonic stem-cell research of any kind. Anyone can do all the embryonic stem-cell research they want.
3. Federal funding is available on a limited basis for embryonic stem-cell research.

The Kerry campaign continues to either implicitly or explicitly accuse the Bush administration of benightedly banning medical research, when it simply is untrue. If embryonic stem-cell research was economically promising, then pharmaceuticals and other for-profit ventures would be jumping into the market. The truth is that adult stem-cell research has proven more valuable and that is where the private funding has gone, including for diabetes research and product development. Actual therapies for diabetes are being tested using HSC (adult stem cells), despite the melodramatic syringe-bearing father of the child. The First Mate uses just as many syringes and has since early childhood, so I think we have some perspective on the situation.

Research on hESC (embryonic) continues at a number of facilities, with state, federal, and private funding, but despite the pluripotential nature of the cells, no therapies have yet been derived from hESC.

Ironically, the Kerry campaign accuses Bush of being a stooge to pharmaceutical companies at the same time Kerry proposes to fund their research:

The Democratic National Committee also focused on health concerns in an ad released Monday, charging that Bush "stood with the big drug companies -- signing their Medicare law."

Kerry, however, wants to subsidize hESC research that the pharmaceuticals don't even want to do. Who profits from the therapies and the drugs that develop from medical research? Pharmaceuticals. Why do they invest money in some research and not others? Because they find some avenues of research more profitable and more likely to result in therapies than others. But Kerry wants to artificially push research into areas where the experts -- those with their money on the line -- believe the effort to be wasted. And what does that do? It makes prescription drugs take longer to get to market, delays therapies due to lost time, and jacks up the price of the drugs we wind up buying.

The Post at least acknowledges that they have mischaracterized the debate in the past, although they do it by describing the Bush campaign's insistence on reporting accurately as accusations. Too bad the Kerry campaign can't tell the truth, too.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 5, 2004 7:00 AM

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» Is it just me, or is Kerry grabbing at straws? from Milblog
Because honestly, I don't see this as being a deciding issue, or even a high-visibility periphial one.Captain's Quarters The Kerry campaign continues to either implicitly or explicitly accuse the Bush administration of benightedly banning medical resea... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2004 7:47 AM

» Stem Cell - Background from Secure Liberty
Ok, in preview of Kerrys upcoming Stem Cell talk today, I wanted to run down some of the facts vs. the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). I am open for comments, if I am incorrect anywhere or if someone can add to the list please comment. FUD: St... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2004 10:05 AM

» The Politics of Stem Cell Research from New Trommetter Times
One of the things that annoys me most about the liberal media machine and the Democratic candidates is their mischaracterization of George Bush's position on stem cell research. [Read More]

Tracked on October 12, 2004 2:03 PM

» Responding to a comment, I think. from The Unabrewer
I had someone disagree with this post. I think they meant this post instead. John Edwards's comments about Christopher Reeve implied that stem-cell research might repair injury-induced spinal cord damage. [Read More]

Tracked on October 14, 2004 8:05 PM



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