A Matter Of Life Or Negligence

1915 words - 8 pages

American inventor and scientist Thomas Alva Edison once said that “opportunitiy is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Edison’s quote, while concise, reveals a great truth, one that is directly related to an ongoing debate in the United States. The procedures, morality, and potential success of stem cell research have been discussed in America for more than one decade, and it remains one of the most-debated topics in today’s classrooms, newspapers, and Senate hearings. According to the National Institutes of Health’s website, stem cells are cells which have the capability of becoming virtually any other type of cell. As the NIH points out, this differentiation ability could lead to the cures of several currently-untreatable diseases, as “when a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function”, by potentially being able to replace damaged tissues. Some of the diseases that could be treated by successfully by replacing damaged cells with human embryonic stem cells include “Parkinson's disease, diabetes, traumatic spinal cord injury, Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, heart disease, and vision and hearing loss” (NIH). From this information, it can be determined that the potential benefits of stem cell research are an incontrovertible truth. Thus, Congress should pass the recently-proposed bill that would expand President Obama's executive order regarding stem cells because that would ensure that scientists working on such a promising and accessible field would be given the time they require to make possible discoveries.
Jon Shimabukuro, an employee of the Congressional Research Service, provides some background regarding the political process of stem cell research funding in the United States. He explains that during the year 2001, then-President George W. Bush signed an executive order, which "restrictively allowed some federal funding to go towards stem cell research". The executive order was restrictive in the sense that it only allowed the use of taxpayers' money to go into stem cells which had preceded the order itself. Before that time, stem cell research had not received any funding at all. Shimabukuro continues by stating that a few years later (in 2009, to be specific), however, current President Barack Obama expanded the funding to include many more stem cells than Bush had allowed. Shimabukuro says that, "... this measure was celebrated by scientists all over the United States, as it gave them access to more resources to investigate." According to him, not too long ago, two members of Congress introduced a bill that would complement Obama's executive order by giving more federal funding and access to resources to scientists. This would force any future pro-life President to have to resort to Congress in order to be able to downgrade to Bush's policies once again. Many Congressmen are...

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