Embryonic Stem Cell Research Backers Run Ad Against Bush, Nader

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 19, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Backers Run Ad Against Bush, Nader

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 19, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Advocates of embryonic stem cell research are weighing in on the presidential race. Their favorite son, John Kerry, is locked in a tight battle with President Bush, whose policies they oppose.

In order to ensure that independent candidate Ralph Nader siphons as few votes as possible away from Kerry, who backs destroying human embryos for stem cells, the Committee for the Advancement of Stem Cell Research is launching a new campaign ad asking voters to oppose both Bush and Nader.

"The simple fact is that progressives’ votes for Nader put Bush in the White House in 2000, making it possible for him to put the brakes on embryonic stem cell research," said Frank L. Cocozzelli, co-executive director of CASCR.

"We don’t want progressives to repeat that mistake," Cocozzelli added.

The ad claims that doctors will tell patients, "there is nothing more we can do" to treat their various diseases if embryonic stem cell research isn’t advanced.

"But that’s what millions of Americans [with various diseases] will be told, if you vote for Ralph Nader," the ad says.

In August 2001, President Bush put forward an executive order prohibiting the federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research. Groups like Cocozzelli say that Bush’s policy limits the beneficial research that can be conducted, despite the successes associated with the use of adult stem cells.

Members of Congress and activists like CASCR are pushing for legislation that would overturn Bush’s order by directing funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to embryonic stem cell research.

Bush opposes the bill, which is not expected to get a vote until 2005, and says he will not vacillate from his August 2001 anti-funding policy.

That prompts CASCR to claim, "George W. Bush is still taking orders from the religious right. He wants to stifle stem cell research."

Pro-life groups say the latter statement is false and that they, as well as the president, strongly back adult stem cell research that utilizes stem cells from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, and other ethical sources.

Clinical trials have already shown that adult stem cells can limit or cure various diseases, including Parkinson’s, and can provide better heart function to stroke victims.

The CASCR ad highlight’s Kerry’s views in favor of the unproven research and says he will "push it forward."

Kerry has said that, as president, one of his first actions will be overturning the Bush policy and funding embryonic stem cell research with taxpayer dollars.

CASCR is buying air time on news radio stations and liberal talk shows across the nation to air the 60 second ad.

Cocozzelli said his group is trying to air the commercial in states where Nader did particularly well and pulled votes away from Gore. In the fall, Cocozzelli said he expects to begin a print version of the ad.