Getting Emotional Over Stem Cells

crossposted at

I wasn’t expecting to get emotional over stem cells. I’ve heard the arguments, I’ve seen the promise, I’ve listened to the pundits drone on and on. I never really thought of it until I began reading and researching  in order to write this post.

First, came the announcement from the White House:

“From tiny embryonic cells to the large-scale physics of global warming, President Barack Obama urged researchers on Monday to follow science and not ideology as he abolished contentious Bush-era restraints on stem-cell research. ‘Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values,’ Obama declared as he signed documents changing U.S. science policy and removing what some researchers have said were shackles on their work.”-yahoo news.

I have to admit this brought a smile to my face. President Obama went on to address the “controversy” surrounding stem cells head on saying the order was designed so it “never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction.” Such cloning, he said, “is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society or any society.”

I realize this is a touchy subject with a segment of the population. I can’t pretend to understand the objections, because I very truly do not. Even Time acknowledges the “fake” controversy.

Feministe sums up my thoughts pretty well,

“Obama also said that he hopes Congress will continue to support stem-cell research legislatively. All of this is incredibly excellent news, and I cannot possibly express how very happy I am about the development. It looks like we may in fact be moving towards a real ‘culture of life,’which values the lives of actual people. Go President Obama!”

Of course that “culture of life” reference is not a mistake. The controversy surrounding stem cells is directly related to the potential for human life and the anti-choice movement. Me? I am reminded of Galileo and others, and the notion that religion can repress discovery.

I am also offended that stem cells destined for destruction anyway are being protected by people OVER the protection of those I know and love.

Because I learned a lot reading the many, many articles about stem cells- almost more than I bargained for. You see, my father has a low-grade form of leukemia. Did you know they are using stem cell research to attempt to advance treatment and find a potential cure for leukemia?

Did you also know stem cell research may one day help someone right here at BlogHer?

BlogHer Contributing Editor, Nordette writes,

“At some time in the future, I will need kidney and stem cell research offers hope beyond hoping I find a matching donor and get approved for transplant…I remember while I was going through domestic violence counseling, the counselor and I discussed my being ill, needing a kidney for reasons the doctor’s don’t understand, and I told her that I was realistic about the news I’d received at age 43, that by age 53 I’d need a kidney. I said that I’d accepted that it was unlikely I’d get one because most people don’t, and so, I wanted to live my life like I’d never be approved as a recipient.

She looked me in the eye and said, ‘I don’t want to hear you talk like that. Medical science is making progress in all areas and for all you know by the time you need a kidney they’ll be growing them in a lab.’

Her words comforted me six years ago, and sometimes I try to look at life that way: What if I make it? What if I have another 40 years ahead of me and not another 5-10?”

And here’s where I cry and get angry. Why Why Why would anyone deny this chance to my father, to my friend Nordette, to the many millions of people suffering from various things? All  for a clump of cells destined for destruction? They value the clump of cells more than my father? MY OWN FATHER.

Which is why, when my tears dry, I’m glad we have BlogHer Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan to break a complicated issue down with FACTS and a great video:

Of course, speaking out on stem cells will get you mocked by some on the Right. Some who may or may not be the leading voice of the Right… but, I digress.

I hope President Obama’s actions turn into solutions and science will lead the way in helping not just my father, not just Nordette, but all those in need of help.

The President’s words ring true and it really is about time we “make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

BlogHer is non-partisan, but our bloggers aren’t! Read more News & Politics. Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog.


  1. Another great post, Erin. My sister was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes when she was 9 years old. She’s now 32 and been living with the disease for 23 years. She takes great care of herself but wears an insulin pump 24/7. They are so close to finding a cure for diabetes and I feel like it’s been on hold for years, stalled out. I once again feel hope for a cure.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I heard the news in the car and I got emotional too. Agent M (6) was in the back seat, and I explained why it was so exciting. She got it.

    Alot of people don’t get it, but they also don’t have a niece with Tay-Sachs. Sometimes hope is all you’ve got.

  3. I understand Nancy Reagan endorsed this move today. Wonder what her husband would have said.

  4. Reagan would have approved–he appointed Sandra Day O’Connor (which proves he had an open mind) and he lived through the hell of Alzheimer’s, a disease that might one day be cured by stem cell research

  5. I guess this will remain a controversial issue and I guess most of those against was because of the use of embryos. However, I read recently that latest developments mean that embryos won’t be used but I am not sure. I definitely support it because of all the potential benefits.

  6. Memo to Susie…

    If you have Alzheimer’s, you’re not aware that you have it, so there’s no hell to live through. The hell is for the people taking care of you.

    And as for Sandy Day, Reagan chatted with her for 5 mins, found out she liked horses, decided right there and then she was a great gal and appointed her. If you don’t believe me, you can look it up.

  7. Erin, you know I love you, but you need to STOP using the term “anti-choice movement.” It’s offensive and the moment I read those words, or hear those words, I stop reading and I stop listening.

    I read your posts, asking for conservatives to stop with their negative rhetoric, but you continue to perpetuate that very thing with those words.

  8. Pro-life is offensive. And it’s become common place. It seems only fair to balance that out. I am not anti-life. Are the anti-choicers actually against choice? I am not against life.

    See the difference?

  9. Good Day:
    Very classy

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