Blowing Smoke in Public’s Eyes about Stem Cell Research

A Christian medical group says in the campaign to teach the public the facts about stem cell research, the national media has erected a barricade against the truth.

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations has tried for years to get the truth about stem cell research before the public, but spokesman Dr. Gene Rudd says it is not easy when the media does not cooperate. As the latest example of this sort of stonewalling, he points to the media's handling of the Stem Cell Research Act (HB 3589), which was recently voted down 28-29 by the Illinois House. That measure favors embryonic stem-cell research, or ESCR.

Rudd feels people are being misled and the media is helping to mislead them by failing to report the facts, or to report them using the same deceptive language the pro-ESCR legislation adopts. “Part of it is a strategy of obfuscation,” he says. “There [is] some of what we call 'verbicide' — killing the terms or redefining the terms. The bill doesn't mention cloning; it talks about somatic cell nuclear transfer, which is medical jargon, [the meaning of] which is cloning.”

The CMDA spokesman contends that the media helps to perpetuate this lack of clarity, rather than explaining the facts to the public. “The people are left to believe there's just some cellular research going on here,” he says, “and they are not led to understand that it's actually the creation of human beings — and the destroying of those human beings for some hopeful scientific advancement.”

Meanwhile, Rudd says the press refuses to publicize research that shows that adult stem-cell research holds great promise, while embryonic stem-cell research is not only destructive and unethical but also unnecessary. In more than 20 years of research, he notes, not one malady or disease has been successfully treated or cured with embryonic stem cells, while more than 50 medical problems are already being treated successfully with adult stem cells. recently reported some amazing developments in adult stem-cell research. For instance, scientists doing clinical trials on mice have shown that transplanted adult stem cells can improve vision in eyes damaged by retinal disease. And in another study, researchers used adult stem cells to target and treat cancer cells, and to improve the functioning of damaged heart muscle. Meanwhile, doctors in Brazil have been encouraged by the initial results of treating a stroke victim with adult stem cells from bone marrow. After a number of hopeful indications, they are now planning to try the treatment in other patients as well.

Rudd says the wording of the Illinois Stem Cell Research Act advances the deception that cloning and embryonic stem-cell research will cure Alzheimer's disease, even though no credible scientist on either side of the debate has suggested this. And as for speculations about cures for other diseases, he says they are just that — speculation. Nevertheless, he says based on this speculation the largely unwitting public is “being asked to walk into ethical quicksand,” while the media does little if anything to disabuse people.

“So, yes, there's a lot of deception going on, which makes our job much more difficult,” the CMDA spokesman says. He observes that the authors of Illinois' “clone-and-kill” bill were careful to include mention of popular and non-controversial adult stem-cell research in the legislation, a deliberate act he contends “is simply a smokescreen to link ethical adult stem-cell research with its unethical cousin, embryonic stem-cell research.”

Rudd says adult stem-cell research needs no such mention in the legislation because the ethically sound work being done with adult stem cells is already producing real results for patients. He believes this nod in the Stem Cell Research Act, which CMDA is calling a “wolf in sheep's clothing,” is just one more deception in a bill that encourages abortion for research, condones cloning under another name, and perpetuates ignorance about stem cell science.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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