- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 7, 2004

FROM COMBINED WIRE REPORTS

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry said yesterday the restriction on stem-cell research imposed by President Bush was a triumph of ideology over science and “only adds to the loss and pain” of millions suffering from potentially curable diseases.

“At this very moment, some of the most pioneering cures and treatments are right at our fingertips, but because of the stem-cell ban, they remain beyond our reach,” Mr. Kerry said in his party’s weekly radio address.

He renewed a previous pledge to reverse Bush administration policies on stem cells if he wins the White House and said he would increase funding for stem-cell research by federal agencies.

“We’re going to listen to our scientists and stand up for science. We’re going to say yes to knowledge, yes to discovery and yes to a new era of hope for all Americans,” the Massachusetts senator said.

Mr. Bush announced strict limits three years ago on federal support for embryonic stem cell research, which many pro-lifers claim involves the taking of nascent human life.

In his radio address, Mr. Kerry pointed out that three years have passed since Mr. Bush announced on Aug. 9, 2001, that he would limit federal spending for stem-cell research to lines then in existence.

“Those affected by this decision already mark so many hard anniversaries of their own,” he said. “Marking today’s anniversary only adds to the loss and the pain.”

Embryonic stem cells can morph into any cell of the body. Many scientists say that ability to transform opens the possibility of finding treatments or cures for conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Many pro-lifers reject the use of embryonic stem cells for research because they come from human embryos a few days old. The embryo must be destroyed to obtain the stem cells, opposed by many people who consider life to begin at conception.

“In America, we don’t sacrifice science for ideology,” Mr. Kerry said. “People of good will and good sense can resolve the ethical issues without stopping lifesaving research.”

Mr. Bush, meanwhile, during his radio address yesterday, called new terrorism warnings in Washington and the New York area “grim reminders” of threats facing the United States, as he again defended his government’s decision to increase the threat alert level.

“The elevation of the threat level in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., is a grim reminder of the dangers we continue to face,” Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address.

The Bush administration’s decision to raise the terrorism alert at financial organizations in New York City, the District and New Jersey was criticized because of its reliance on 3-year-old intelligence.

Also in his address, Mr. Bush noted his decision last week to support the creation of a national intelligence overseer, a new position proposed in a report by the commission that investigated the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Bush was spending the weekend in Maine and attending his nephew’s wedding. Mr. Kerry, and his running mate, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, pushed westward in a post-convention campaign swing that includes 22 states.

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