Disability Rights Advocate Backs Bush Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Veto

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Disability Rights Advocate Backs Bush Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Veto Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 20, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A disability rights advocate who has been a spinal cord injured quadriplegic for nearly four decades says she is happy President Bush vetoed a bill that would have forced taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research. Joni Eareckson Tada was among those gathered at the White House as the president announced why he vetoed the measure.

Joining fellow disability advocates, ethicists, researchers, theologians and legislators, Tada said she stands with "countless Americans with disabilities who believe that our cause is not advanced when human life is sacrificed in hopes of finding a cure."

"People like me — who are medically fragile — are left vulnerable and exposed in a society that views human life as a commodity which can be experimented upon or exploited," she explained.

Tada said the disability community has another vested interest in the Presidential veto. Despite lack of reporting by the media, people with disabilities can be encouraged by recent and dramatic advancements in adult stem cell research, she said.

Adult cells may be more elastic than scientists previously thought and are offering short-cuts to treatment which embryonic cells cannot match. Over 70 medical conditions are either being treated using adult stem cell therapies or are presently in clinical trials.

“I am grateful for the principled stand our President has taken, first and foremost because of the sanctity of human life, but also because restrictions on use of taxpayer dollars may well encourage funding in the overlooked and less commercially viable field of adult stem cell therapy," Tada explained.

Tada’s views contrast with those of Michael J. Fox, a well-known actor who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

Fox blasted Bush’s veto claiming it went against public opinion, even though polls show a plurality of Americans oppose tax-funding of embryonic stem cell research.

"I find it frustrating that the president would use his first veto of his time in office to thwart this research," Fox said.

"I am respectful of those who oppose this research and their reasoning for it but they do represent a minority," he added.

Related web sites:
Joni and Friends International Disability Center – https://www.joniandfriends.org