Via RaisingKaine, I found this editorial, written by Delegate Brian Moran.
One of the most important issues to me today is stem cell research.
I'm a Type-I diabetic (for 10 years this June), my late aunt died in August of Type-I diabetes complications, my father, my mother, and one of my paternal uncles has Type-II diabetes. My late grandfather, God rest his soul, died in August of complications of Type-II diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and, unbeknownst to us until he passed, lung cancer. All of these ailments could be cured if stem cell research would be allowed to continue with ample funding.
Ronald Reagan, Christopher Reeve, Pope John Paul II, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Carson all died of diseases that could also have been cured with the discoveries that could have been.
Let's get something straight here before we go any further. An embryonic stem cell is not a human. By another name, a stem cell is a blastocyst. It's an approximatley 1-week old embryo with anywhere between 50 and 150 cells in it. They are totipotent, which means they can continue to grow, which therefore means they could conceivabley be grown into cells that could regenerate the affected parts of a person's body (i.e., repair the pancreas, repair the spinal cord, etc.).
The embryos that would be used are the left-overs from fertility clincis. Some folks argue that these are human beings, so they shouldn't be used for research. Well, I would counter that, if not used after a period of time (which escapes me at the moment), they will be destroyed. Basically, washed down a sink. Now, I ask you, which is worse--using stem cells to potentially find cures for diseases that, ten years ago, looked to have no cure in sight, or destroying the embryos for lack of anything better to do with them?
I recall a quote from Senator Arlen Specter, one of the Senate's main proponents of stem cell research, from a Sunday news show, during the period he was suffering from cancer. He said something akin to, "I'm not as worried about when life begins as I'm worried about when life ends." There is no more honest argument for stem cell research than that, when countering the rabid pro-life folks. As a matter of fact, I defy anyone who is againt embryonic stem cell research to look in the eyes of someone dying of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or any number of other diseases, and tell them that their life isn't worth the time, money, or effort to find a cure for their disease.
So, in closing, I ask that everyone reading this call their Senator of Delegate and urge them to vote against HB 5002, which would ban all forms of stem cell research.