Talking Points: Stem-Cell Politics

President Bush facing a big decision. That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Millions of Americans, including the scientific community, are waiting to see if the president will back government-funded stem-cell research. The decision is controversial because some Americans believe destroying life in the form of embryos is morally wrong, thus the stem cells derived from those embryos should not be paid for with federal tax money. This is a serious argument and one not lightly dismissed.

I believe the government would be wrong to use stem cells taken from aborted fetuses, but I would allow stem-cell research from embryos which would be discarded by fertility clinics anyway. The greater good, in my opinion, is served by this research because scientists believe that many medical conditions, including paralysis, might be helped by stem cells.

Polls say that 72 percent of the white American Catholics support stem-cell research from embryos, and most Americans support it as well, including some big-name, pro-life politicians like Tommy Thompson and Orrin Hatch.

Some critics say stem cells from adults would suffice, but researchers in this area say embryonic cells are most effective.

Now President Bush is in a tough spot, but I believe he will allow the stem-cell research under tight federal scrutiny. I've thought about this issue a lot, and I'm sure the president has, too. It just seems to me that being pro-life means trying to help injured people, too, and stem cells might do that.

One footnote here: The pro-life movement has taken a pounding in the media for a long time, and it simply isn't right. Good people can hold different beliefs on when life begins, but no one who is noble can argue that more than a million abortions a year is a good thing. It is not. It is a bad thing.

Americans need to work together to make abortion a rare thing. We need to take the politics out of this life-and-death issue and put it in the human-rights arena where it belongs. The killing of a fetus is a destructive act, and America is not supposed to be about destruction. Let's use common sense and fairness here and get the abortion situation under control.

And that's the memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

TV icon Oprah Winfrey works hard for the money and deserves it, in my opinion, because she makes tons of stations a lot of dough. And here's how rich Oprah really is.


She recently bought a ranch near Santa Barbara, California, for 50 million bucks. So what about the mortgage, you ask? No mortgage. Oprah paid by check. Ridiculous? Only if it bounces.

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