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Don't Let Politics Prevent Cures for Disease
by Senator Johnny Ellis


June 15, 2004

With the recent death of 40th President Ronald Reagan, many people will be finding ways to pay tribute to him. President Reagan died the first weekend of June, after a ten-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. Perhaps, the most meaningful tribute to Reagan could come from current President George W. Bush. The tribute is federal funding for stem cell research. Just weeks before President Reagan's death, his wife Nancy, wrote President Bush, begging him to reverse his opposition of stem cell research. Stem cell research holds the real promise of cures for such terrible afflictions as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis.

Embryonic stem cells can create any kind of tissue. The cells come from the extra embryos not used in the in vitro fertilization process. The parents can choose to donate the extra lines to scientific research, research that could save lives. Right now researchers are legally allowed to use only 19 cell lines. Scientists say some of those 19 lines are unusable. They are frustrated because there are hundreds lines that cannot be used to save lives.

So why aren't more cell lines being used? President Bush claims stem cells are the start of human life, and using federal dollars to fund research is, in his mind, un-ethical. I believe NOT using them is unethical. Blocking their use is blocking Alzheimer's patients from recognizing their families, blocking Parkinson's' patients from living full lives, and blocking diabetics from life without insulin injections.

A bi-partisan group of U.S. Representatives and Senators signed a letter asking President Bush to reconsider his position on stem cell research. So far, the president is refusing to reconsider. Stem cell research is something the American Association of Retired Persons supports. Full funding for stem cell research will improve the lives of thousands of Alaskans. Withholding funds is tantamount to a death sentence for millions of Americans.

You can help change the President's mind. Write him at White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500 or e-mail him at Let him know stem cell research saves lives. Let him know this is the best way to honor Ronald Reagan's life. You can also know that I will fight to open up every possible stem cell line for this life saving research.


Senator Johnny Ellis
Anchorage, AK - USA

P.S. As always, it is my honor and privilege to serve you!


Note: Sen. Johnny Ellis (D) is a member of the Alaska Legislature representing the Anchorage neighborhoods of Airport Heights, Campbell Park, College Village, Downtown, Fairview, Geneva Woods, Government Hill, Midtown, Rogers Park, Spenard, South Addition, Tudor and Waldron.


Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


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