John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris on Why is the U.S. Still Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

In this Oct. 22, 2008 file photo, research associate Crystal Pacutin pulls a frozen vial of human embryonic stem cells at the University of Michigan Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. An appeals court gave short-term approval Thursday for continuing federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. | (Photo: AP Photo / Paul Sancya, File)

I certainly don’t recommend the cartoon “Family Guy,” but in a 2012 episode the main character, Peter Griffin, has a stroke that paralyzes half his body. He stumbles into a stem cell research lab and is cured in five minutes. “Why aren’t we funding this?” he asks.

Well, the show not only got it exactly wrong, it cheated.

Let me explain. The cartoon never delineates whether the research center uses adult stem cells or embryonic stem cells. That difference is everything. Embryonic stem cells are only acquired by destroying human embryos. Acquiring adult stem cells does not require the death of a human embryo.

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You might remember this was a central issue of the 2004 presidential election. Democratic nominee John Kerry led the chorus of outlandish promises for embryonic stem cells, shaming George W. Bush’s decision to ban federal funding of embryo destructive research while, for the first time, directing funding for adult stem cell research.

Kerry even claimed that embryonic stem cell research would enable Superman actor Christopher Reeves to “get up and walk again.” For his decision to fund research that did not require destroying an embryo, George W. was accused of “banning stem cell research,” which just wasn’t true.

I’m guessing the “Family Guy” episode was perpetuating the myth that Bush didn’t fund stem cell research. The truth is Bush didn’t fund embryo-destructive stem cell research. And, the Obama Administration lifted the Bush-era ban on embryo-destructive research in 2009, forking over between $100 to $200 million a year in federal funding. In 2012, when that “Family Guy” episode aired, $150 million in federal grants went to embryo-destructive research.

But here’s the thing. Despite all the funding dedicated to embryo-destructive research, embryonic stem cells had not yielded a single viable treatment by 2012, but adult stem cells had. So if Peter Griffin was, in fact, miraculously healed by stem cells, it wasn’t because embryos were destroyed in the process.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris

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