I once had the opportunity to attend a Capitol Hill hearing on embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Due to the testimony given by a person in a wheelchair pleading for embryo research money, the atmosphere in the room was emotionally charged. She said those opposed to ESCR were keeping her in a wheelchair. If scientists were allowed to receive federal money to fund ESCR, she maintained, soon she would be able to walk.
Her testimony was followed by others, heartbreaking cases like the now deceased actor Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's.
Clever campaigners promising miraculous cures eventually wore down the opposition. A lot of states started funding this type of research.
Then in 2009, declaring that he "will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research," President Obama reversed the federal ban on ESCR. He concludes that "medical miracles do not happen simply by accident."
Those of us who abhorred the use of these tiny humans lost the popular vote. Since then, a lot of state and federal money has been wasted on ESCR.
The public has been told about successful embryonic stem cell therapies. But if we dig beneath all the hype, the truth is far different.
Recently, Dr. Theresa Deisher, a biotech researcher, has blown the whistle on the lies being spread by those in the ESCR business. The successes they attribute to ESCR are actually adult stem cell gains. For this, Dr. Deisher has endured name-calling.
There are people who are power-hungry and more interested in lining their pockets from the public trough then in putting money where it can really save lives.
Unlimited power over life and death plus monetary gain makes for a scary scenario.
In the musical 1776, there's a great song about the slave trade ("Molasses to Rum"). If it were being written today, it might go something like this:
"Whose fortunes are made in the embryonic trade? 'Tisn't morals, 'tis money that saves."