Kerry gives nod for stem cell research

Kerry Vows to Lift Bush Restrictions on Stem Cells

By Thomas Ferraro

LAMAR, Colo. (Reuters) - Democratic challenger John Kerry on Saturday marked the third anniversary of President Bush's restrictions on stem-cell research by vowing to lift them for the sake of millions of Americans with debilitating diseases.

"To those who pray each day for cures that are now beyond our reach, I want you to know that help is on the way," Kerry said in remarks taped for his party's weekly radio address in the second week of a cross-country campaign tour with running mate John Edwards.

"Come next January," said Kerry, who hopes to be inaugurated as president at that time, "we're going to create a new anniversary -- one that will be cause for celebration. We're going to lift the ban."

Stem-cell research heated up as an election-year issue after the death of former President Ronald Reagan, who was stricken with Alzheimer's disease. His son, Ron Reagan, made an emotional plea to expand such research at last month's Democratic National Convention.

In August 2001, Bush restricted the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research to batches, called cell lines, that existed at that time. Critics complain more lines need to be opened to federally financed study.

Embryonic stem cells, taken from days-old human embryos, have the potential to form any kind of tissue in the body. Researchers hope to learn to use them to create tailor-made transplants to treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other ills.

Because an embryo must be destroyed to harvest the cells, some anti-abortion groups oppose their use.

Kerry said, "People of good will and good sense can resolve the ethical issues without stopping life-saving research."

"Right now," Kerry said, "more than 100 million Americans suffer from illnesses that one day could be wiped out with stem-cell therapy."
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At least he comes across better than Bush.

...but then so does a chimp with Turrets Syndrome. ;o)