The Embyronic Stem Cell Research Agenda

Thursday's Editorial - November 28, 2007


1. Describe the issue of this commentary.

2. What is the "great step forward" that Mr. Patton writes about in paragraph 6? (answer found in paragraph 5)

3. What questions does Mr. Patton ask (in para. 8-12) to refute the claims of those who say the use of embryonic stem cells to cure diseases is vital?

4. In paragraph 13, Mr. Patton states: "Thomas Jefferson once wrote that 'To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.' There can be no greater example of the truth of that statement than to force American taxpayers to fund the destruction of innocent human life, whether it is at the moment of fertilization or at the age of ninety. This is especially true when alternatives are available."
Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Patton's assertion? Explain your answer.

5. Despite the discovery that human skin cells can be turned into cells that resemble embryonic stem cells, several members of Congress have made clear they will push forward with their legislation requiring taxpayers to fund research that uses embryonic stem cells (and destroys human embryos in the process). Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) reportedly stated that despite the groundbreaking announcement last week, he still hopes that embryonic stem cells may be found to be more powerful. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) said he will continue to push legislation to fund embryonic stem cell research, as did Rep. Dianne DeGette (D-Colo.).
Do you support or oppose their push to fund embryonic stem cell research with taxpayers money in light of the recent breakthrough with human skin cells? Explain your answer.

OPTIONAL: Email your reaction to his commentary to Mr. Patton at Be clear, concise and polite.