lunes, julio 25, 2005

Stem Sellouts

Jesse Reynolds

Recent developments—both technical and political —have once again brought stem cell research to the front pages of newspapers across the country. Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., are the sponsors of a bill in the Senate that would largely undo President Bush’s restrictive federal funding policies. It’s already passed the House, and is scheduled for a Senate vote this month. But now conservatives are working to dilute support for it by introducing several competing bills that would fund stem cell research that does not destroy human embryos.

Progressives are inclined to react to these reports by strengthening their support of stem cell research as an effective wedge issue to split Republicans. But before we move ahead with simplistic calls for more funding and fewer restrictions, we should pay heed to troubles with California’s new stem cell research agency— and to the larger implications of biotech boosterism.

Jesse Reynolds is the director of the project on biotechnology accountability at the Center for Genetics and Society, a nonprofit organization working to encourage responsible uses and effective societal governance of the new human genetic and reproductive technologies.

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