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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Superman star attacks church over embryonic stem cell research
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¬†Superman star Christopher Reeve, who has been battling paralysis since a riding accident in 1995, has blamed the Catholic church and President Bush for obstructing medical research which might help him. The actor told The Guardian today that embryonic stem cell research could lead to ways of repairing damaged nervous systems like his own. But he said the Bush administration had outlawed the research after lobbying from the Catholic church. He said: "If we'd had full government support, full government funding for aggressive research using embryonic stem cells from the moment they were first isolated, at the University of Wisconsin in the winter of 1998 - I don't think it unreasonable to speculate that we might be in human trials by now." Reeve, who is paralysed from the neck down, currently spends £270,000 a year on round-the-clock medical care. After his fall from a horse he vowed he would be back on his feet by the time he was 50 - but that is just a week away. He has managed to regain some movement in his hands and feet, but is still almost totally paralysed. The actor is now supporting a bill that would enable therapeutic cloning while penalising those who carried out reproductive cloning. "I think we could have been much further along with scientific research than we actually are," he said. "There are religious groups - the Jehovah's Witness, I believe - who think it's a sin to have a blood transfusion. "Well, what if the president for some reason decided to listen to them, instead of to the Catholics, which is the group he really listens to in making his decisions about embryonic stem cell research?" Reeve told The Guardian. Paul Danon, a spokesman for the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, told ICN: "We feel desperately sorry for people in Mr Reeve's situation and count many more like him among our members and supporters. "The development of adult stem cells research is already quite advanced and has shown some promising results. Embryonic stem cell research has not come so far and we view it as completely unethical. "The end can't justify the means. In embryonic stem cells research we are talking about killing human beings, at a highly vulnerable stage of development. "Lots of things could be accomplished if human beings were used as resources. But that would be a nightmare situation." Mr Danon repeated that SPUC felt deeply sympathetic towards Mr Reeves and many others suffering like him, but, he said: "society can't go to any lengths to treat medical conditions." "Even if there were no religious objections, one could not approve a situation where human life was treated as a commodity." He concluded: "We hope that much more funding will be put into adult stem cell research."
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