Ronald Reagan’s Son: Dad Would Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ronald Reagan’s Son: Dad Would Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 22, 2004

Washington, DC ( — While advocates of embryonic stem cell research have invoked the name of Ronald Reagan in their crusade for taxpayer funding of the unproven research, his son says the former president would never have supported it.

After Nancy Reagan began the push for President Bush to reverse his policy against taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), the media, members of Congress and state legislators began invoking the name of the pro-life president.

Some have gone so far as to name legislation promoting the destructive research after the recently deceased president.

Now, Michael Reagan, one of the president’s sons, is joining pro-life groups in saying that ESCR advocates are trashing his father’s pro-life legacy.

"The media continues to report that the Reagan ‘family’ is in favor of [embryonic] stem cell research, when the truth is that two members of the family have been long time foes of this process of manufacturing human beings — my dad, Ronald Reagan during his lifetime, and I," Michael Reagan writes in an editorial.

"Moreover, using the widely promoted and thoroughly discredited argument that stem cell research can lead to a cure of Alzheimer’s disease, the media and proponents of stem cell research have suggested that had the research been done a long time ago, my dad might have avoided the ordeal he endured," Reagan explains. "This is junk science at its worst."

Michael Reagan cites the president’s national security advisor, Judge William Clark, who wrote a recent op-ed in the New York Times also saying that Reagan would never have supported the research, which destroys the lives of unborn children days after their creation.

Clark said that Reagan instituted a policy that shows he almost certainly would oppose embryonic stem cell research.

"After the charter expired for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s ethical advisory board — which in the 1970’s supported destructive research on human embryos — he began a de facto ban on federal financing of embryo research that he held to throughout his presidency," Clark explained.

Carrie Gordon Earll, Focus on the Family’s senior analyst for bioethics, praised Reagan for the editorial and said, "the true hope for many diseases, including diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, rest with non-embryonic stem cell sources."

"The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports funding 330 human clinical trials using non-embryonic stem-cell sources and identifies 74 treatable diseases using these cells in therapy," Earll explained. "According to the NIH, there are currently no human clinical trials or proven therapies using embryonic stem cells."

The president’s son cites Ronald McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in his piece.

"People need a fairy tale," McKay recently told the Washington Post.

McKay said those who are afflicted with or have family members afflicted with various diseases need some sort of hope and advocates of ESCR have played on those hopes to gain support for their research.

"Note to the media," Michael Reagan concludes, "Next time you write about the ‘family,’ remember both dad and me. It’s our family too."

Related web sites:
Michael Reagan’s column –{0E2A1B9D-5591-4A24-940A-67C3FEDE1A6B