Stem-cell research and Presidential politics
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry supports creating cloned human embryos for research, a position that could complicate his efforts to woo undecided voters with the issue of stem-cell research.
Such cloning raises a variety of vexing ethical issues, including whether it is proper to create human life knowing it will be destroyed, and whether research cloning could become a step toward full cloning of human beings, known as reproductive cloning. Mr. Kerry says he would prohibit reproductive cloning; rather he would back a limited form of cloning to treat certain diseases.
Mr. Kerry's position on cloning could become a focus of voter concern. That is because the Democratic ticket has been using the stem-cell issue as a way to attack President Bush on his handling of science and health issues.
Mr. Bush has said he opposes all forms of cloning. Mr. Kerry would back the creation of cloned embryos, as one way to obtain stem cells from patients themselves that then could be used for treatments. Stem cells are the precursor cells that turn into muscle, organs and all other forms of tissue and which researchers hope eventually can be used to treat Parkinson's disease, diabetes and other diseases.
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