Human embryonic stem cells, isolated from human embryos for the first time in 1998, have the potential to grow into any cell or tissue in the body, and so hold great promise for treatment of disease. But the embryos are destroyed when the cells are extracted. So Mr. Bush, intending to discourage further embryo destruction, insisted in 2001 that federal financing be limited to studies of those stem cell colonies, or lines, that had already been created.
Instead, Mr. Bush is promoting research on adult stem cells, which are drawn from bone marrow and blood, including umbilical cord blood, and have narrower implications for medicine than embryonic stem cells.
Scan some of the non-embryonic alternatives’ successes here and here. (This–the relative successes of adult-stem-cell research is not the reason to oppose embyronic-stem-cell research, of course, but it’s a sensible, ethical alternative more people can agree on that happens to have some successes already. Seems like an obvious option. And, anyway, one the Times could be forthright about.)