Life issues appear to be the most radical differences between American presidential candidates George Bush and John Kerry in their health and science policies. In analyses published by the BMJ, Nature and the BBC, the two men clashed most on abortion and stem cell research, although they also have different solutions to health coverage, climate change, GM crops and new nuclear weapons. According to BBC analyst Paul Reynolds, this represents a battle between Kerry’s science and Bush’s “moral fundamentalism” — a view hotly disputed by the President’s supporters.
On abortion, the Republican platform elevates embryos and foetuses to the status of citizens. It states that “we support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear the 14th amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” The Democrat platform supports Roe v Wade and repeats President Clinton’s slogan that “abortion should be safe, legal and rare”.
On stem cell research, the Republicans support Bush’s compromise which allows federal funding only for research on a few dozen human embryonic stem cell lines which were created before August 2001. They also oppose cloning and the creation of human embryos. The Democrats believe that stem cell research should be supported “under the strictest ethical guidelines” because it could bring wonder cures for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, Parkinson’s and juvenile diabetes.
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