Bill Frist endorsed government-funded research on human embryonic stem cells Friday, breaking with President Bush and the religious conservatives he’s been courting for a 2008 presidential bid. He drew praise from former first lady Nancy Reagan.
John Kerry issued the following statement in regards to Frist’s flip flop:
“I applaud Senator Frist for breaking with the president and his party on stem cell research. The issue of stem cell research is deeply personal and fundamentally moral. These moral questions should never be answered lightly, but our humanity and our responsibility to those suffering demands we answer them.
“Ideological rigidity in Washington should not be allowed to stand in the way of promising work that could save and transform countless lives. I’m grateful Senator Frist is ending his past refusal to work with leaders of both parties who are committed to finding cures for the deadliest diseases.
“There are 100 million Americans suffering today from illnesses that might one day be treated or cured with stem cell therapy, but only if Washington will allow doctors to pursue promising research balanced by strict ethical guidelines. Every day that we wait, more than 3,000 Americans die from diseases that may someday be treatable because of stem cell research.
“Some of the most pioneering cures and treatments are right at our fingertips. We can’t let politics keep them beyond our reach.
“From heart transplants to polio vaccines, America’s progress has been defined by our sense of limitless possibility and our commitment to use the power of science to improve the lives of all our people. It’s wrong to turn away from stem cell research that offers some of the best hopes for the future.
“We must make funding for this research a priority. Above all, we must look to the future not with fear, but with the hope and faith that stem cell research is a gift that will advance our highest ideals and ultimate responsibility to our fellow man.”