3 cheers for Illinois’ Governor!

The debate going on over the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes has been contentious to say the least. Since issuing an executive order allowing for expanded use of embryonic stem cells, Illinois’ Governor, Rod Blagojevich, is under attack by opponents to this research. Gov. Blagojevich is just one more governor to take matters into his own hands when the Federal Government refuses to act. Recently, California has authorized $3 billion over the next 10 years to this type of stem cell research and Connecticut has pledged $100 million over the same time period. But because George Bush has refused to sign ANY bill that increases federal funding to this important research, it is necessary for states to do it themselves.

As some of you know (and now the rest of you do!), Illinois is/was my home state. I grew up there, graduated high school there, joined the Marine Corps there, and got married there. It’s times like these, when an Illinois politician steps up for what is right, that I wish I still lived there. Gov. Blagojevich may be a lot of things but at least he seems to care about trying to find cures for some of the most debilitating diseases that affect not just the elderly, but our nation’s children too.

A brief summary of the executive order issued by Gov. Blagojevich and what it allows are as follows:

…permits research on adult, cord blood and new embryonic stem cell lines, but prohibits research involving human cloning, tissue that was bought or sold for research, and embryos from abortions.(my emphasis)

Anti-abortion activists should be thrilled at this, but I’m sure they won’t be. This type of program is Win/Win in my eyes. I recently had a discussion with my Dad, a staunch pro-life advocate, on this very topic. I told him that what makes this especially hard is the fact that the debate surrounding embryonic stem cell research is NOT one of life or death, but rather one of life or life. It is the difference between destroying never-to-be-used embryos from fertility clinics, and letting one more child or elderly person die because we’ve had the means to possibly cure these diseases such as Alzheimer’s, both juvenile and adult diabetes, permanently disabling spinal cord injuries, and even heart disease. The two main diseases that this type of research is expected to make advances in are Alzheimer’s and diabetes, both of which are very prevalent in my family. My grandfathers, both paternal and maternal, were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My father, who is in his 60s, is a prime candidate, as are my brother and I. Knowing this, you can see why I advocate highly for this research.Opponents of this are still using the term “morally-objectionable” to refer to this type of research. I just don’t understand what is so “morally-objectionable” to utilizing these embryos that would normally end up as nothing more than medical waste. Gov. Blagojevich at least made provisions prohibiting the use of embryos from abortions and the cloning of embryos. Those two provisions alone should be enough to satisfy right-wing religious types and their religious objections, but they won’t be.

I would hope, for the health of our society’s sake, that more states across this country introduce legislation that allows for this type of research and gets it passed.

Read the NY Times article –>HERE(registration required)

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