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We shouldn't use embryos to research the use of stem cells

Letters to the Editor
Published July 21, 2006

I'm all for stem cell research. What I'm not in favor of is embryonic stem cell research. Why is it that nothing is being done about that area? Everyone has stem cells. Doctors all over the world have used stem cells from individual patients and have had very good results with various problems. All you hear about is embryonic stem cells because, they say, you'd get better results. No one can say you'd cure any disease using embryonic stem cells. It always seems to hinge on federal money for research.

There are no laws that limit private research on embryonic stem cells, so it must all be about the big money. I believe that life is important and every time you use an embryo for anything other than giving life, you are taking that life.

We all started out as embryos. Is this really what we need to do, rather than the alternative? Let's put some research into regular stem cells before we go on another killing spree.

Paul Lukacs, Indian Rocks Beach

The obvious next step

Re: Stem cell research veto.

In Wednesday's photo-op heralding his veto of the stem cell bill, President Bush used as a backdrop a group of "snowflake" children (who were adopted as frozen embryos brought to term by an adoptive mother, and thus "saved" from frozen limbo, or eventual disposal). The president used them as a symbol of what he believes is wrong with stem cell research, i.e., it requires the destruction of human embryos which he considers to be human life.

Perhaps his reasoning will lead him to an obvious next step - to be ethically consistent perhaps he will support a ban on in vitro fertilization, the very process that led to creation of these "miracle" kids.

Thomas LaPorta, Palm Harbor


An insult to millions

Re: A hypocritical stem cell veto, editorial, July 20.

Many millions of people support the president's position on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and they do so with dignity and faith.

My reading of this St. Petersburg Times editorial is that it questions President Bush's honesty and in doing so perhaps suggests that the above-referenced millions of Americans are likewise dishonest in their beliefs.

In addition to raising the very substantial ethical issues - a position the president has steadfastly held - he is also questioning the need for a federal role in this funding. Surely, if the promise of this research was so thoroughly grounded in solid science, the world's biggest investors would be scrambling to grab a share of the potential windfalls awaiting those prescient investors who got in early.

Calling the president "hypocritical," and by extension those who share his belief, the Times has insulted millions.

Jim Parker, Tampa


President was courageous

The Times editorial calls the president's stem cell veto hypocritical. I call it courageous. Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research would encourage the production of many unneeded embryos. The government should encourage the opposite, the production of few, if any, unneeded ones. The promise of embryonic stem cell research is an empty promise that many researchers want to cash in on. The real promise is in adult stem cell research, which is already curing many diseases.

James Larsen, Pinellas Park


Wielding his veto at last

With our Middle East policy a shambles, the economy in a slide, out of control insurance rates and gas prices, I am glad the leaders of this nation have stayed focused on the important issues of the extreme right. No same sex marriage (defeated), no flag burning (defeated), now a veto on expanded federal funding for stem cell research.

The president finally found something to use his veto power on: the one thing that showed some of the greatest hope for finding a cure to many of the diseases that ravage our citizens. No veto for the political pork or increases in taxes? Shame on you all! The majority has again been ignored for the few. Time for a change? You bet!

Raymond Day, Spring Hill


Veto lacked logic

I'm afraid I just don't understand the logic of our president in wanting to veto a bill that would expand federal funding for stem cell research on embryos slated for destruction by in vitro fertilization clinics. He must know that these are embryos that wind up - by the clinics' own admission - dumped in the trash anyway, so why let them go completely to waste? Who knows what the resulting research may mean for our future, and how many lives might be saved or improved?

The embryos in question are not destined to become children, as President Bush likes to say. They are destined to become trash. That has been clearly stated, so where is his outrage with the IVF clinics? Why not shut them down if he's so worried about these embryos? Apparently this is just another one of his antiscience poses, but it's an embarrassing one. If this bill is shut down, then by the same logic we should also shut down the fertility clinics.

Sandra Furey, St. Petersburg


When will we focus on humanity?

Re: Stem cells may uproot political landscape, July 17.

Using human embryonic stem cells to further research into abolishing life-threatening diseases is "the equivalent of murder." Sending thousands of young people to possible hideous death in a far-off land is not. This seems to be the reasoning of our president - and those he is anxious to please.

It reminds one of the Dark Ages when everyone knew the Earth was flat because God had so decreed it and those who defied him were summarily burned at the stake or tortured on the rack.

When will we cease trying to placate an immovable, demanding deity and give priority to suffering humanity?

Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon


It has to be personal first

Re: The promise of stem cells, editorial, July 10.

Why is it that most members of the GOP must be personally affected before they see the benefits of an issue such as stem cell research or gun control?

I'm more convinced than ever that there's no such thing as a compassionate conservative.

Phyllis Schuster, St. Petersburg


Compassion needs stirring up

Re: Voice is weaker, but spirit is strong, July 19.

What a wonderful, sensitive commentary on the vocals by Johnny Cash during the last months of his life in his album American V: A Hundred Highways.

There is too much suffering by too many Americans today, and maybe what this nation needs is personal suffering by more of our own leaders in government so that we will see the truth in Pope John Paul II's admonition that suffering stirs the heart to act with compassion and unleashes love.

Russell Lee Johnson, St. Petersburg


Cruelty in the comics

Re: The comic strip Lio.

This comic has gone from totally unentertaining to just plain sick. The reference on Wednesday was of buying a dog to feed a snake. Where are the editors? I found this totally tasteless.

With all the articles you publish about animals and animal rights, I was surprised this cartoon was allowed to run. Children read these cartoons.

Marilyn Arnold, Clearwater

[Last modified July 21, 2006, 00:01:27]

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