Last week, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, following the earlier votes by Congressmen Jim Langevin and Patrick Kennedy in the U.S. House, voted to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells have never successfully treated any disease in humans. Further, human trials of such therapies are more than a decade away, because currently they tend to produce malignant tumors in animal test subjects.
Just how promising is embryonic research, given that the best science now suggests that it will never cure Alzheimer's and it probably won't cure autoimmune diseases such as juvenile diabetes? This question seems to have eluded not only the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, who have consistently supported immoral and destructive embryonic stem cell research, but now joining this chorus of support is Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts.
Her recent report, entitled "Discovering Rhode Island's Stem Cell Future: Charting the Course Toward Health and Prosperity," notes that there is a significant amount of moral research of adult stem cells in Rhode Island. However, Roberts quickly suggests that that direct state funding should begin to include embryonic stem-cell study if Rhode Island is to be a "player" in the bio-tech industry. The report cites the examples of states including California, Iowa, and New Jersey that have provided hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to fund the immoral research that destroys living human embryos in the name of science.
However, none of these multi-million-dollar state projects and business enterprises have produced the positive and authenticated results that the morally acceptable adult stem cells have in advancing cures for degenerative diseases.
This point is largely ignored in the pro-embryonic stem cell choir that sings only one utilitarian mantra: "Destroying human embryos save lives." Sadly, this is the mantra sounded by Langevin and Roberts at their press conference last week to introduce the report and advocate for the immoral scientific research. Notably absent are voices that oppose the research.
Roberts claims Rhode Island is missing an opportunity to advance
science and the state's economy. Similar arguments that Rhode Island needs to catch up with other states to save its economy were advanced in the casino vote debacle last year.
We no doubt should expect a hearty welcome by Roberts, Langevin, and their allies in the General Assembly upon the arrival of scientific hucksters and economic opportunists who have advanced immoral embryonic stem cell research across the country. However, we once again remind the Lt. Governor, Congressman Langevin and their allies that embryonic stem cells have never successfully treated any disease in humans and we ask them: Why should Rhode Islanders even consider spending millions on embryonic research, given that the best science now suggests it will never cure any disease?
(This editorial originally appeared in The Providence Visitor)