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The C-Word: Ron Reagan seduces by changing the terms of the stem-cell debate

Wesley J. Smith

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Tuesday night at the Democratic Convention, Ron Reagan engaged in one of the most stunning bait-and-switch scams of recent political history: For weeks we have been told that Reagan would urge President Bush to increase spending for embryonic-stem-cell (ESCR) research using leftover (IVF) embryos and to expand the parameters of eligibility for federally funded research. But that is not what he did. Rather, under the guise of promoting ESCR, Reagan actually pushed for the explicit legalization of human cloning.

Here's how Reagan described "embryonic-stem-cell research," actually human cloning, a.k.a. somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), with my correcting comments to his inaccurate assertions in italicized brackets:

Now, imagine going to a doctor who instead of prescribing drugs, takes a few skin cells from your arm. The nucleus of one of your cells is placed into a donor egg whose own nucleus has been removed. A bit of chemical or electrical stimulation will encourage your cell's nucleus to begin dividing [actually, create a new cloned human embryo], creating new cells [embryonic development] which will then be [destroyed and their cells] placed into a tissue culture. Those cells will generate embryonic stem cells containing only your DNA [and mitochondrial DNA from the egg], thereby [theoretically] eliminating the risk of tissue rejection.

The jig is finally up. For years, Big Biotech's -- and the official Democrat-party -- line has been that President Bush's embryonic-stem-cell funding policy has been too narrowly drawn. All we want access to, they repeatedly and self-righteously intoned, is IVF embryos in excess of need that are going to be discarded. But now, thanks to Ron Reagan's speech, which never once mentioned leftover IVF embryos, we learn that what Big Biotech and the Kerry campaign are really after is for the federal government to fund human-cloning research. And they clearly think they can get it through the potent magic of redefining terms.

Read the entire article on the National Review Online website.

Posted: 7/31/04



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