Sunday, May 22, 2005

Anatomy of Stem Cell Legislation
In today's Washington Post, essays by 2 esteemed opinion writers tell different kinds of stories about the current stem cell research legislation the President has threatened to veto.
David Broder explains how this unlikely bill has made it to the floor:
It is rare that any bill that originates on the Democratic side of the House ever comes to a vote. The Republican leadership sets the agenda and has the power, under House rules, to exclude measures it has not endorsed.

But Rep. Diana DeGette, a fifth-term Democrat from Denver, fought doggedly against the odds and lobbied every member on her side of the aisle to support the cause. More important, she found an ally in Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware, who in his seventh term has emerged as the shrewdest politician among the small band of Republican moderates.
Michael Kinsley comments on the substance of the stem-cell debate and the hopeful emotions it both raises and unravels, especially in light of the recent announcement from Korea of more successful, efficient methods of cloning cells from a human being.
Other nations are racing for the leadership role in stem cell research that the United States has abandoned. And individual states are defying the federal near-ban. So it seems unlikely that U.S. government policy will actually prevent a cure for Parkinson's and other diseases. And it's not too likely that a cure will come in time for most current sufferers in any event. But it might, it might. So if my government merely manages to slow the process down -- as it already has done for years -- that is disheartening.

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