Friday, April 28, 2006

More Stem Cell Politics

Anybody who thinks that stem cell research is anything other than political ought to have a talk with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

This week, Blagojevich awarded $10 million in state grants to encourage stem cell research. Where did Blagojevich come up with the money to support research that state Republicans oppose? He slipped it unnoticed into the state budget. And he'll do it again:

"If there are other ways, unilaterally through executive action, I'll do it. I'm not going to wait for a bunch of politicians in Springfield who won't do the right thing to help cure diseases."

Though I strongly support stem cell research I'm not a fan of this sort of unilateral executive action. Whether or not you personally agree with the decision, these sort of end runs around the democratic and legislative processes make a sham of the political process.

Nevertheless, Blagojevich's frustration is understandable. With embryonic stem-cell researchers hamstrung by federal funding restrictions, and politicians doing their best to muddy the debate about the merits, efficacy, and morals of ESC research, some politicians and researchers have had enough.

It's time for Congress to get its act together and authorize federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.

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