Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More misleading claims from the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures

When I read a news story about embryonic stem cell research from a Michigan newspaper sometimes I'm not completely disgusted by the reporter's inability to check the facts of those in favor of embryonic stem cell research.

Unfortunately, this story in the Detroit News today is not one of those stories. One sentence is especially heinous.
Only about one-third of the fertilized cells from prospective parents are actually used in conception and the remaining two-thirds are frozen and eventually disposed of as medical waste.
This sentence is attributed to no one. This information (which is completely unsourced) obviously came from the Marcia Baum and the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures yet it is included as if it were some kind of fact.

Fertilized cells? What kind of language is that? How can regular "cells" be fertilized? When talking about human embryos it would be nice if reporters at least called them human embryos.

What source says that 2/3 of embryos created via in-vitro fertilization are eventually disposed of as medical waste?

Also, notice how the reporter and editors of the Detroit News seem to have no clue what conception means. They seem to have equated conception with attempts to implant already conceived IVF embryos into a woman's womb.

I couldn't believe this quote.
"Proponents of embryonic stem cell research want to prevent the destruction of those embryos," Baum said. "Many people believe that's really pro-life."
Catch that? Baum is claiming proponents of killing human embryos for research want prevent the destruction of those embryos. Nothing could be further from the truth. They don't want to prevent the destruction of human embryos, they want to take part in it.
Baum added that the 70 treatments developed through adult stem research come from a study that has been under fire in the scientific community.
Let's see how many claims Baum gets wrong here. The claims don't come from a single study. They come from a group called Do No Harm and Dr. David Prentice who has compiled a long listing of peer-reviewed studies. The list of studies hasn't come under fire from the scientific community, but from a two letters to the journal Science by advocates of embryonic stem cell research who obviously took one claim about adult stem cells - that they have been used to help "produce therapeutic benefits for human patients" suffering from 70+ different ailments - into a completely different claim - that all adult stem cell treatment are "generally available" and are "fully tested in all required phases of clinical trials and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."

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