February 23, 2024

McCain’s ambiguous position on stem cell research

Obama is clearly in favour, but McCain’s supporters oppose
Stem cell research is flying under the radar in this year’s election. Both
candidates support it but do not explain their positions at great length. The
stand of Democrat candidate Barack Obama is clear: he supports human embryonic
stem cell research to the hilt, as does his running mate Senator Joe Biden.

For instance, Biden recently told a rally in Missouri, "I hear all this talk
about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents" who face
"the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental
disability, who were born with a birth defect… Well, guess what folks? If you
care about it, why don’t you support stem-cell research?"

The position of Republican hopeful John McCain is more amorphous. On the one
hand, he is running radio advertisements in which he promises to support stem
cell research to "unlock the mystery of cancer, diabetes, heart disease". But he
fails to mention that this research might use human embryos — which his
anti-abortion supporters would reject. His running mate, Sarah Palin, is amongst

Furthermore, the official Republican platform, though clumsily worded, seems
to condemn all research on human embryos: "We call for a ban on human cloning
and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research
purposes." This seems to be inconsistent with Senator McCain’s track record in
the US Senate, where he supported embryo research. He even signed a letter to
President Bush with almost 60 Senators who urged the President to modify his
restrictive policy. So there are two competing sides to his policy – and only
time will tell which will eventually triumph should he be in the White House
next year. ~ Boston Globe, Sept 15; New York Times, Sept 9; AP, Sept 18