Imagine gradually losing your eyesight over the years until you reach the point that you can no longer see to drive, or cook, or read. Or grocery shop or walk down the street on your own. Imagine not being able to see your grandchildren as they grow and develop. Or not being able to blog and thus losing contact with all your friends - such as has happened to BJ of DemWit fame.
As your bright colorful world shrinks and turns into gray shadows, imagine being told by doctor after doctor that there is no cure. The lights slowly dim and your hopes of ever seeing again dim with them.
But just imagine someone flipping a switch and the lights coming back on. Suddenly you can see your hands in front of your face, and the wood grain in the dining room table, and the picture on the television. For perhaps the first time ever, you can see your granddaughter's smile. Just how amazing would that be?
And then imagine having the chance to once again see the world around you snatched away because of some archaic belief system.
Both scenarios are possible.
Two women with untreatable eye diseases report that they had dramatic improvement in their vision after injections of human embryonic stem cells. For the millions who suffer with a degenerative eye disease, the ramifications, although preliminary, have to be enormously exciting - more exciting even than winning a $10M lottery.
BUT - if any of the four Republicans vying to lead our nation were president today, this very exciting development that has the potential of restoring sight to millions of people might not be a possibility.
Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, New Gingrich and Ron Paul
have accepted the ludicrous "personhood" stand that full human rights begin when sperm meets egg, caving in to the religious right in terms of stem cell research. On national television, Romney pledged to support a personhood Amendment to the Constitution, and the other three have signed a personhood pledge, as well as appearing at personhood rallies.If the Right-to-Life people don't want to have an abortion, fine. If they don't want to use contraceptives, fine. But when they want to force others to live according to their warped dictates, that's not fine. More importantly, when they want to deny the living a chance to lead a healthy, normal life, that's anything but fine.
Even the Catholic Church, that male bastion of anti-contraception/abortion/choice, came out in support of adult stem cell research during a conference last November.
The conference ended with an extraordinary Papal audience at which Pope Benedict XVI spoke of our shared mission to ‘wake up’ the world to the here-and-now uses of adult stem cell therapies, and to form a collaborative network of scientists and doctors devoted to the advancement of adult stem cell therapies.As the author states, "There is no area of medical science as misunderstood by the public as “stem cell” science and its extraordinary potential for transforming the health and welfare of our nation." (emphasis mine)
Just imagine a cure for diabetes, Huntington's (or what should be called "Woody Guthrie's disease), Lou Gehrig's disease (ADL), Alzheimer's (read about a recent development using skin cells), and cardiac disease.
When you begin to understand the promise of stem cell treatments when it comes to treating these diseases, along with maladies such as cancer in all its terrible varieties and autoimmune illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and lupus, and further recognize the trillions of dollars that can be saved in our health care system by pursuing stem cell research and development, this public misunderstanding becomes all the more tragic.I suspect most of the Personhood male members, and maybe even their wives (or maybe not), might sing a different tune if they learned that stem cells have been shown to help penis problems in rats.