Democratic Convention’s Only Pro-Life Speaker Backs Destructive Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democratic Convention’s Only Pro-Life Speaker Backs Destructive Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 26, 2004

Boston, MA ( — The Democratic Party will have just one speaker at its national convention in Boston who opposes abortion and, to the chagrin of pro-life advocates, he is only on stage to help tout embryonic stem cell research, which destroys the lives of unborn children.

Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island congressman, will introduce Ron Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan, on Tuesday night. Reagan’s speech is something of a coup for the Democratic Party, considering he is the son of a well-regarded pro-life Republican president.

Though Langevin votes pro-life on abortion issues, his introduction of Reagan will help boost research opposed by the pro-life community.

Langevin describes the opportunity as an "incredible honor" and says he asked Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe for the opportunity to introduce Reagan

The congressman’s spinal cord was severed when he was accidentally shot in 1980 during a volunteer police program, leaving him a quadriplegic. He sees embryonic stem cell research, though it destroys the lives of human beings in their earliest days, as offering hope for a cures for people like him.

"I recognize the tremendous potential that this research holds to improve the quality of life of millions of Americans suffering from numerous diseases," Langevin told the Providence Journal newspaper.

No one who is pro-life wants to see beneficial research stopped. In fact, pro-life advocates have trumpeted the use of adult stem cells, which have proven far more successful in clinical trials.

Dr. D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke, has called the promises of miracle cures from embryonic stem cells a "fairy tale."

In June, two leading researchers, including a Johns Hopkins University scientist, said less controversial approaches are more likely to find a cure or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s in the coming years. Using embryonic stem cells may not yield progress for decades, the researchers said.

Ron Reagan has made no secret his contempt for President Bush and his August 2001 policy prohibiting taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research.

Yet, Reagan realizes the Democratic Party is "using him" and said as much in an interview with MSNBC, where he is a political commentator.

Embryonic stem cell research has become a contentious issue in the presidential election.

John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee for president, has already said he will overturn Bush’s embryonic stem cell research funding limits, if elected. Kerry has criticized the president for "playing politics with science."