Stem Cells: The Cruelty of Media Hype

Stem Cells: The Cruelty of Media Hype

Recent passage in the House of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 portends, not cures for sufferers, but Federal funding for Dr. Frankenstein.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s website carries a press release headlined Pelosi: ‘Stem Cell Research Will Give Hope to Millions of Americans who Suffer from Devastating Illnesses’.

Sadly, the hope that Speaker Pelosi ballyhoos will prove a cruel disappointment to sufferers, because, rather than the promised cures, more likely results are death or irreversible disability from malignant cancers or non-malignant, abnormal tissue growths.

Stem cell researchers enjoy the enthusiastic support of liberal media, including naturally the New York Times.  As with so many policy issues, the general public have heard only half of the story.

To understand how remote is the possibility of useful stem cell therapy, and how life-threatening to experimental patients is is, read What We Know About Embryonic Stem Cells, by Maureen L. Condic, on the First Things website.

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Ukraine babies in stem cell probe

Ukraine babies in stem cell probe

By Matthew Hill
BBC Health Correspondent

Cells under microscope

There is heated debate about the ethics of using stem cells

Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.

Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.

But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.

Wall of silence

The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.

In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies from a cemetery used by maternity hospital number six.

One campaigner was allowed into the autopsy to gather video evidence. She has given that footage to the BBC and Council of Europe.

In its report, the Council describes a general culture of trafficking of children snatched at birth, and a wall of silence from hospital staff upwards over their fate.

The pictures show organs, including brains, have been stripped – and some bodies dismembered.

A senior British forensic pathologist says he is very concerned to see bodies in pieces – as that is not standard post-mortem practice.

It could possibly be a result of harvesting stem cells from bone marrow.

Hospital number six denies the allegations.

When Parkinson’s Just Isn’t Enough

When Parkinson’s Just Isn’t Enough
By Julia Gorin
Published 11/29/2006 12:07:31 AM

It looks like the recent pro-embryonic-stem-cell spot that Michael J. Fox did for Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill was effective, since McCaskill won the seat. Indeed, this month’s sweeping Democratic victory could spell a victory for embryonic stem cell research as well.

It’s a bit baffling, though. One would think that having Parkinson’s Disease would be enough for a person. But apparently Fox also wants a brain tumor. Recall a study published in the May 1996 edition of the American Academy of Neurology’s journal Neurology, in which a Parkinson’s patient in China was implanted with embryonic and fetal stem cells. The subject’s brain grew bone, skin, and hair — essentially a Siamese twin; he died.

I understand Democrats are for euthanasia, but there’s got to be an easier way. A gun would be quick and less painful, but — sure enough — they’re against those, preferring the torturous, drawn-out route instead. We should have seen the warning signs when instead of just injecting Terri Schiavo with something, they wanted her to starve and thirst for three weeks until her swollen tongue protruded, her skin cracked, lips and nose bled as she heaved, vomited, had seizures, and gasped for air.

Fetal tissue was also once thought to be a promising avenue for treating neurological disorders. But in 2001 the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a U.S. study in which patients implanted with cells from aborted fetuses started to writhe and twist about, jerking their heads and flinging their arms. As one of the researchers in the study described it, they also started to “chew constantly, their fingers [went] up and down, their wrists flex[ed] and distend[ed]….It was tragic, catastrophic. It’s a real nightmare.”

One subject reacted so negatively that he now needed a feeding tube. (And we know where that leads.)

As one of the study’s sponsors, Dr. Gerald Fischbach, put it: The surgery “is not the final solution that people would have hoped.”

There you have it in their own words: They’re working toward a Final Solution with human experimentation.

Remember: Guns don’t kill people. Using dead babies for cures does.

SLATE WRITER MICHAEL KINSLEY, who also suffers from Parkinson’s, likewise has been making a “plea for stem cell research,” as Reader’s Digest called it. But why plead for stem cell research when there are already countless breakthroughs with stem cells — adult stem cells — which consistently have exhibited far less disastrous, more promising results?

But no, Kinsley wants his cells to come specifically from embryos. Not only does the preferred stem cell therapy have to involve embryo destruction, but these folks aren’t happy unless the embryo destruction is government-funded. Although Kinsley and Fox can get their tumors through privately funded embryonic stem cell research (which has investors running for the hills), apparently it’s that magic touch of government money that will make it all come together.

Who knows — if it’s magical enough, maybe it could even cure homosexuality one day (not a choice, right?). So when they finally find and isolate the gay gene, they can look for it in developing embryos, weed those out, and use those for embryonic stem cell therapy.

How’d that be? A stem cell cure for homosexuality! If anyone is still gay after that, it’s obviously a choice (tsk tsk!).

And with the growing popularity of “designer embryos” — screening for 200 diseases, as well as picking the sex and hair color — you can now design the embryos you destroy. Which means you can grow a blond, blue-eyed tumor!

TO BE FAIR, EMBRYONIC stem cell research is still only in its embryonic stages, but so far it’s showing a lot less potential than the embryos it destroys. (Hey, if embryos aren’t people, then embryonic stem cell research isn’t science, right?) Then again, perhaps the Democrats indeed might be our best hope for cures to debilitating diseases and paraplegia. After all, if they’re able to raise the dead to vote again, they can certainly heal the paralyzed to walk again.

Given the euphoria over the Democratic victory in places like Syria, Iran, and France, one can understand Democrats’ obsession with stem cells: they’re going to need as many as they can get to rebuild their spines.

So fear not: with the Democrats in control of Congress, the kids will be experimenting on embryos in lab class before we know it. And Michael J. Fox will never have to make another TV appearance without taking his embryo pills first.

Julia Gorin, who blogs at JuliaGorin.coom and, is a conservative comedian and co-creator of The America

More propaganda on stem cells

More propaganda on stem cells

Thomas Lifson
The debate over funding for stem cell research has been marked by deliberate obfuscation and overblown promises. There is a huge difference between embryonic stem cell research and the other two types of stem cell research. Today, the left wing Los Angeles Times publishes an op-ed  by Sigrid Fry-Revere of the Cato Institute which conforms to this pattern of propaganda. While arguing against government funding of stem cell research, the op-ed does nothing to clarify the essential distinction between embryonic stem cell research, the holy grail for cultural leftists anxious to protect the abortion industry, and adult and umbilical stem cell research.

Claims that embryonic stem cells are essential objects of research weaken the argument that embryos are human beings, whose lives deserve protection. The movement to persuade the voting public that they will be denied cures because of unreasonable restrictions on embryonic stem cell research serves as ammunition for abortion absolutists, harnessing perceived self-interest in cures (however unlikely) as a weapon against arguments for the sanctity of the lives of the unborn.
Embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce a usable therapy. For precisely that reason, private funding of embryonic stem cell research is hard to come by. Private researchers want results. The voter initiatives showering taxpayer money on stem cell research have been specifically aimed at fetal stem cells, despite their lack of promise. The abortion agenda has trumped results in directing our taxes toward research.
Fry-Revere takes the absolutist position that all government funding of all stem cell research is bad, a characteristic position of the libertarian Cato Institute. But she also fails to note that abundant private money has been directed toward adult and cord stem cell research because it is getting results. Corporations are not interested in embryonic stem cell research because it has shown so little promise of usable results.
Any fair-minded analysis of the politics of the situation requires examination of this distinction between embryonic stem cell research and the other two types, both of which face no moral objections from any serious critics. So why would Fry-Revere obfuscate rather than clarify in her analysis?
A clue comes in this verbiage:

For years, researchers lobbied government to fund IVF, but amid Luddite cries that “test-tube babies” would lead to societal ruin, funding was denied at every turn. [emphasis added]

As a libertarian organization, Cato opposes restrictions on abortion. Fair enough. But any public policy research organ that obfuscates important factors out of apparent ideological bias weakens its credibility. Sadly, that appears to be the case on the embryonic stem cell question and Cato.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Page Printed from: at November 28, 2006 – 04:26:25 PM EST