Thursday, December 24, 2009

Detroit Free Press plays race card to promote tax-funded embryo killing

The Detroit Free Press (which apparently writes an editorial whenever embryonic stem cell researcher Sean Morrison asks them to) is now calling for the removal of the Dickey Amendment and federal tax dollars to be spent on research which kills human embryos. Of course, they don’t explain the law and provide good arguments for why it should be repealed. We’re just told about Congress’ "continuing restrictions (not providing tax dollars) on the development of stem cell lines" (killing human embryos) after being told that most embryonic stem cell lines come from Caucasian embryos.
But long term, this makes Congress' continuing restrictions on the development of stem cell lines look silly. Stem cell research is important and has life-saving implications for millions of people. Lawmakers are standing in the way of its full potential, and also its fairness, as the dearth of non-European stem cell lines demonstrates. It's hard to see how extending America's historically shameful racial health care gap into the future of medicine serves anyone's interests.
Congress is standing in the way of full potential of embryonic stem cell research and the creation of embryonic stem cell lines from African-American embryos because our federal government doesn’t pay scientists to kill embryos? Please.

How will government funding of killing embryos create embryonic stem cell lines from African-American embryos? Has that happened in California where state funds are available for the killing of human embryos and the creation of embryonic stem cell lines?

There’s no argument or even a thought process for how one would lead to the other. The reason most embryos killed for stem cell research are Caucasian is because the embryos come from IVF research and the vast majority of people getting IVF treatments and then donating their embryonic children to research are white. Government funding of embryo killing has nothing to do with it. Providing federal funds for the actual killing of embryos isn’t going to magically change the ethnicity of the embryos which parents donate for research. It isn't going to encourage more African-American to try IVF or encourage more African-Americans who've tried IVF to donate their embryonic children to research.

So why is the Free Press making this ridiculous assertion?

Either the editorial board members of the Detroit Free Press are complete idiots (and think providing federal funds for killing embryos will change the ethnic make-up of available embryos) or they are intentionally trying to mislead African-Americans readers into thinking that federal-funded embryo-killing will somehow bridge the racial health care gap.

That's vile.


  1. The talk about immediate applications is just public relations.

    We need to do ESCR for BASIC SCIENCE reasons. To expand the universe of what is possible to do and to think about.

    The people who discovered the element silicon were not trying to invent computers.

  2. OC,
    Your comment really doesn't address the issue raised in my post. ESCR is already being done and paid for with tax dollars.

    The issue is whether using tax dollars to pay for the killing of embryos is going to lead to more embryonic stem cell lines from African-American embryos.

    Second, we don't "need" to do it anymore than we "need" to experiment on toddlers. That would "expand the universe of what is possible to do and think about" but that doesn't mean we should or "need" to do it.

  3. Yes, we do NEED to do the best basic science we can do. Otherwise, progress will halt and we will always remain the stupid, poor, weak creatures we currently are.

  4. OC: "The people who discovered the element silicon were not trying to invent computers."

    Unlike the ESCR crowd, they weren't killing anyone, either.