Disinformation Taints Stem-Cell Debate, Pro-lifer Says

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate´s Only Doctor Backs Embryo Research

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- As the U.S. Senate´s only physician announced that he would support the use of taxpayer money for human embryo cell research, a leading pro-life group warned about a «disinformation campaign» about the merits of such research.

Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee on Wednesday told a Senate subcommittee that he would back federal funding for human embryo stem-cell research.

Frist has been an influential adviser on medical issues to President George W. Bush, who is struggling to decide whether to fund research on embryonic stem cells, the Washington Post reported.

Meanwhile, Robert A. Best, president of the Washington-based Culture of Life Foundation, warned in a statement: «There is a disinformation campaign going on about the merits of embryonic stem cells versus adult stem cells. In fact, there have been no clinical trials on human beings and very little on animals with embryonic stem cells.»

«Experiments on mice demonstrated a capacity in mice to produce tumors and death,» he said. «A fetal cell introduced into Parkinson´s patients brought disastrous results.»

«On the other hand,» he continued, «there is a growing and exciting body of research using adult stem cells, including clinical work helping human beings. A variety of adult stem cells from such sources as placentas, umbilical cords, blood, fat, liver, pancreatic tissue, bone marrow and the brain, have shown great promise is curing diseases from cancer to diabetes to spinal cord injuries.»

He added: «Innovative means of recovering adult stem cells are already being used. For example, many parents of newborns are ´banking´ their baby´s umbilical cord against a possible future requirement for healing. There is no killing and no need to kill to cure and to heal diseases.»

Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas was quoted in the Post as saying: «The central question to this debate remains: Is the young human a life or mere property to be discarded as a master chooses? Destructive embryo research — research which requires the destruction of living embryos — is deeply immoral, illegal and unnecessary.»

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