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Inside Politics

Kerry: Lift limits on stem cell research

Medical Research
John F. Kerry
Stem cell research

(CNN) -- Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry Saturday carried his "help is on the way" theme to those affected in some way by diseases and conditions that could be improved by stem cell research, pledging to lift a partial ban President Bush put on the research three years ago.

Bush issued an executive order on August 7, 2001, limiting federal funding to projects using existing lines of fetal stem cells, a position supported by his party's fundamentalist Christian and conservative faction.

"The is not the way we do things in America," Kerry said in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "Here in America we don't sacrifice science for ideology. We are a land of discovery, a place where innovators and optimists are free to dream and explore."

"We know that progress has always brought with it the worry that this time, we have gone too far," Kerry said. "Believe it or not, there was a time when some questioned the morality of heart transplants. Not too long ago, we heard the same kind of arguments against the biotechnology research that now saves stroke victims and those with leukemia."

Such work, Kerry said, is too important to risk for an ideological base and must be "a priority" in the nation's medical community.

"People of good will and good sense can resolve the ethical issues without stopping life-saving research," he added. "America has long led the world in great discoveries, always upholding the highest standards, with our breakthroughs and our beliefs always going hand-in-hand. And when it comes to stem cell research, we will demand no less."

Bush's decision came again to the forefront earlier this summer following the death of former President Ronald Reagan, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease for at least the last decade of his life, and at the Democratic National Convention when Reagan's son, Ronald Prescott Reagan, spoke in favor of lifting the ban.

The younger Reagan and his mother, Nancy Reagan, are staunch supporters of stem cell research, and each has appealed to President Bush to lift the ban.

A Kerry-Edwards administration, Kerry said, "would "stand up for science" and "say yes to knowledge, yes to discovery and yes to a new era of hope for all Americans."

"To those who pray each day for cures that are now beyond our reach," he said, "I want you to know that help is on the way."

"Above all," he said, "we must look to the future not with fear, but with the hope and the faith that advances in science will advance our highest ideals."

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