Monday, July 24, 2006

Michael Arcuri Bids for the Science Vote With Stem Cell Line

Read the fine print when it comes to Ray Meier's support for "stem cell research".

Michael Arcuri has come out with a good statement explaining that he supports full federal funding for stem cell research, which has great potential to lead to therapies for a whole range of maladies, ranging from alzheimer's to paralysis. Arcuri's comments on this subject are exactly the kind of thing we need to be hearing from his campaign, and were well timed, for George W. Bush's veto of stem cell research funding, Bush's first veto ever.

Right wing extremists are opposing full federal funding for stem cell research because of the minority belief within a few sects of Christianity that the blastocyst, an undifferentiated ball of cells, is a human being with a full soul and identity. Most Christians reject this belief, and accept the scientific evidence that nerves are required for thought and feeling.

Regardless of your particular belief, we're talking about the federal government here, not a church. No one is asking Pope Benedict XVI to fund stem cell research. We're asking the federal government of the United States of America to provide the funding. The religious beliefs of a minority of Americans should not enter into the equation.

And what's the alternative? The blastocysts will be thrown away. Into the garbage. To die. Like trash.

That's pro-life?

The so-called pro-life activists who are frothing at the mouth to prevent blastocysts for being used in research to develop cures to end suffering and prevent death are strangely absent when much more mature, fully thinking, feeling, breathing, walking, talking human beings are killed by the dozen in the Republicans' pointless Iraq War. How can the President use his one and only veto so far to stop medical research, all the while, sending bombs and bullets to kill with no hesitation?

More importantly for this election, how can Ray Meier support him?

Oh, sure, the headline at Ray Meier's campaign web site reads: "MEIER BACKS STEM CELL RESEARCH". Read below for the details, and you'll see that claim is a load of bunk. What Ray Meier actually supports is a draconian restriction of stem cell research. Ray Meier, as usual, is marching in lock step with the right wing loonies at the far reaches of the Republican Party. Ray Meier is standing with the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, in contradiction of plain common sense.

This matters to our congressional district. Stem cell research is a local issue for us here, a bread and butter issue, as Michael Arcuri pointed out when he said, "Stem cell research will also be a huge economic benefit to New Yorkers, since our state is home to some of the most advanced medical researchers and biotechnology firms in the world."

There's a reason that Ray Meier is trying to hide his medieval antipathy to modern medicine and science. He knows that, in order to win, he'll have to gain the small but important bloc of votes that Sherwood Boehlert counted on - those in our district who depend on scientific research and education for a livelihood.

With his irrational rejection of stem cell research, Ray Meier has proven once again that he is no Sherwood Boehlert.

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