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Progress and potential

March 12, 2009

Re "Obama to reverse stem cell policy," March 7

For all who oppose President Obama's action to lift the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, I propose the following:

If you are against this policy, make it known in your medical records. That way, if you are afflicted with a condition that would otherwise be able to be cured because of embryonic stem cell research, you will be denied treatment.

Put your health, life and well-being where your mouth is. I'll bet you'll have a change of heart if your life, or the life of a loved one, is spared because of this research.

Nick Kobliska

Bakersfield

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Human embryonic stem cell research has not yet cured anything. Yet Obama has fulfilled his campaign promise to lift the ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research.

Meanwhile, adult stem cell research has generated cures and treatments for many diseases.

Considering this, sound science would seem to dictate that embryonic stem cells not be used. Moral values would furthermore dictate that no good can come out of the destruction of humans in an early stage of their development.

Gary Curtis

Valencia

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Re "Obama remakes science agenda," March 10

Obama's overturning of the federal ban on embryonic stem cell research -- along with his goal of restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making -- is

a welcome return to the proper conduct of science. Physicians, scientists and patients applaud the president's commitment to advancing research so cures can be developed for life-threatening diseases.

One of the most profound questions that patients ask me is if I have done all I can to save their lives. Mr. President, if you are asked this question, you can reply "yes." Thanks to your actions, we can take comfort that promising research can continue without political and ideological interference, and that cures can be sought for patients who need them.

Stephen J. Forman MD

Duarte

The writer is the Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope cancer center.

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Re "More people say they have no religion," March 10

This week we learn that the president has lifted the federal ban on funding embryonic stem cell research and that, according to a major survey, the hold of religion on Americans is declining. I consider both to be good news.

There is no question that good has been done in the name of religion, but its downside has been harmful. Whether it be overpopulation or unwanted pregnancies resulting from resistance to birth control or abortion, or wars based on religious differences, sexism or resistance to science, religion has sometimes impeded progress.

When our personal decisions and public policies are based on reason rather than mythology and inflexible thinking, then perhaps we will optimize human potential and create a better world.

Arlen Grossman

Monterey

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