Thursday, July 14, 2005

Moral Research for the Majority

In dealing with abortion and the Terry Schiavo case, the Bush Administration and conservatives in Congress speak volumes on the so-called "culture of life." They conveniently forget about that claim, however, when given the opportunity to improve the quality of life for countless Americans and millions more around the world. Stem cell research holds the promise of a better future for all of us, but it is very likely that, even if a bill currently under consideration passes the Senate, President Bush will veto it, leaving science without federal funding for this supremely important, cutting-edge research.

It is especially important for those who are suffering from diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. It is not just the individual who suffers, but it is the families who often suffer even more. Alzheimer's disease is a terrible thing to watch a family member go through. As the mind disappears, it is so frustrating to see the shell of what should still be a great man reduced to the mental capacities of a small child. We all take for granted the ability to control our bodies, but the patient with Parkinson’s does not have that luxury. There are other diseases and conditions that stem cell research has the potential to find a cure for. Among them are diabetes, some spinal cord injuries, and some types of cancer.

How can the President and Congress deny these people the chance at a cure? The "culture of life" should go beyond simply preserving life at any cost. Instead, it should be focused on improving the quality of life, and should try to better the lives that already exist. While it will take more than the stroke of a pen to cure these diseases, it is an extremely important step. Federal funding will allow the research to make great leaps forward and bring us so much closer to the day when we will not have to worry about watching a grandparent disappear into a fog or a friend lose control of his body.

The Senate needs to pass the Harkin-Specter bill on stem cell research, and President Bush needs to sign it. There is no other moral option, and if the President wants to make a claim that he is doing his best to improve the every day lives of the American people, he has to take this concrete step that will provide funding to this groundbreaking research.