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New York Times columnist and former Nixon speechwriter William Safire is the latest prominent conservative to endorse embryonic stem cell research. Yesterday, Safire devoted his column to his hope that former president Ronald Reagan’s long battle with Alzheimer’s may help to break the impasse blocking greater federal support of research into the cells and their potential to help millions of American’s including those with Alzheimer’s.

Safire cogently argues that

this research, whether the government likes it or not, is growing apace. Unless we act now to direct it toward morally acceptable ends–cure and treatment of disease and the extension of active life, not monstrous manipulation and production of clones for spare parts–we risk losing the imperfectability that makes us human.
This is the point that many opponents of stem cell research miss: that by not funding embryonic stem cell research, which will continue regardless, the federal government misses its chance to effectively shape and regulate the direction that research takes.

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