Federal legislator blogs ‘truth about stem cells’

.- Advances in adult and umbilical cord-blood stem-cell research have surpassed embryonic stem-cell research, but media hype and several misconceptions continue to fuel support for government subsidized embryonic stem-cell research, said United States Rep. Christopher Smith on The Hill’s Congress Blog yesterday.

In his May 10 blog entry, titled “The Truth About Stem Cells” Smith noted that “nearly 70 human clinical applications using adult stem cells have been published in peer-reviewed journals” and he gave three examples where adult stem cells have been used successfully for organ reconstruction.

The Republican legislator from New Jersey also addressed the misconceptions that the U.S. is falling behind in the competitive field of scientific research and development or losing scientists because of the current embryonic stem-cell policy.

This claim “is simply unsubstantiated,” he said. “There is no statistical evidence that scientists are leaving the country due to the current policy.”

He noted that developments in the field of embryonic stem cells are disappointing, often resulting in failure. These cells have also shown a tendency to form tumors, he wrote.

“These failures of embryonic stem-cell research are magnified by the fact that the process itself destroys human lives at their most vulnerable beginning stage,” he said.

He also addressed the misinformed notion that human embryos left over from the process of in vitro fertilization might as well be used for research because they “are just going to be destroyed anyway and poured down the drain.”

Smith points out that, in fact, some of these embryos are not thrown out but adopted by other couples.

He reported that President George Bush welcomed “snowflake families” to the White House last year.

“These families adopted embryos stored in frozen orphanages left from other couples’ attempts to conceive through in vitro fertilization,” Smith wrote. “They have since seen their adopted embryos grow into happy, healthy children. These children are living examples of why not one taxpayer dollar should be used for the destruction of human embryos.

“Once the government not only permits but funds the destruction of human life in the name of science, all life is devalued and the culture of death becomes even more pervasive,” he concluded.

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