Ron Reagan Tells Democrats to Vote for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ron Reagan Tells Democrats to Vote for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28, 2004

Boston, MA ( — Though he said he wasn’t at the Democratic convention to make a political statement, Ron Reagan made one anyway, as he all but endorsed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Ron Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan, has made it clear that he opposes President Bush’s August 2001 policy preventing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research because it destroys human life.

"Now, there are those who would stand in the way of this remarkable future, who would deny the federal funding so crucial to basic research," Reagan said in his prepared remarks.

But there is no "remarkable future" for Alzheimer’s patients as embryonic stem cell research is unlikely to provide cures for the debilitating disease.

In an interview on MSNBC’s "Hardball" on July 12, Reagan acknowledged that limitation.

"Alzheimer’s is a disease, ironically, that probably won’t be amenable to treatment through stem cell therapies," Reagan admitted.

But that didn’t stop Reagan from criticizing pro-life advocates who oppose the destructive research.

"A few of these folks, needless to say, are just grinding the political axe and they should be ashamed of themselves. But many are well-meaning and sincere. Their belief is just that, an article of faith, and they are entitled to it."

He has accused critics of stem cell research of "pandering to the most ignorant segment of our society for votes."

"[I]t does not follow that the theology of a few should be allowed to forestall the health and well-being of the many," Reagan said.

Reagan told the Democratic delegates that "I am not here to make a political speech and the topic at hand should not, must not, have anything to do with partisanship."

Yet, the issue of stem cell research is wrought with political overtones.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has been consistent in his criticism of Bush’s policy and has said the first thing he would do as president would be to overturn it and use tax money to fund the unproven research.

Meanwhile, President Bush has said federal funds should not be used to back research that destroys human lives and has pointed to the use of adult stem cells, which come from a plethora of ethical sources and have proven more successful in clinical trials.

"Whatever else you do come Nov. 2, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research," Reagan said, later, seemingly endorsing Kerry.