Is John Kerry Listening?

Note: After graduating Summit’s Student Conference, Vickie Tarleton was able to put her training into action, authoring an editorial that appeared in the Jackson Progress Argus on October 20, 2004. Vickie has given us permission to use her article with slight emendations to all our readers.

Was anyone else who watched the 2nd presidential debate before the election as astonished as I was? Senator Kerry showed a complete disregard for the facts stated in one young lady’s question. She asked, “Senator Kerry, thousands of people have already been cured or treated by the use of adult stem cells or umbilical cord stem cells. However, no one has been cured using embryonic stem cells. Wouldn’t it be wise to use stem cells obtained without the destruction of an embryo?”

A well stated question, or so I thought, but apparently the only part Mr. Kerry heard was “embryonic stem cells” and “destruction of embryo.” He instantly claimed the questioner had a bias by saying, “You know, Elizabeth, I really respect your — the feeling that’s in your question. I understand it. I know the morality that’s prompting that question, and I respect it enormously.”

Now, we all know why embryonic stem cell research is so controversial, however this question was well stated; it showed no bias. The questioner only stated the facts. For Mr. Kerry to say, “I know the morality that’s prompting that question” and “I understand it,” is absurd. He apparently chose to disregard the facts that had been given him.

The facts that were stated in the question are quite true. Embryonic cells haven’t cured or helped anyone. However diabetes type 1, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, acute myeloid leukemia, multiple sclerosis, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are all diseases that have been dramatically helped or cured by adult and umbilical cord stem cells. Diseases that show promise of being healed are diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, plus improved stroke recovery and blood stem cell transplants.

Mr. Kerry went on to tell a sob story about a man with a muscular disease who said, “Don’t take away my hope, because my hope is what keeps me going,” a Hallmark moment to be sure. Mr. Kerry pulled out the emotional card here; Mr. Kerry is communicating that you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel compassion and pity for a quivering man pleading, “don’t take away my hope.” But is a false hope any hope at all? Why not direct his hope towards something that has been proved to work, and in the process give hope back to that embryo or baby, that he or she would be able to grow and have life.

Senator Kerry proclaimed, “I think we can save lives”; well I think we can save lives, too. I think we can save the life of the embryo and in time, through adult and umbilical cord stem cells, we could heal the lives of many others.

Senator Kerry exclaimed, “We can save lives” through “ethically guided embryonic stem cell research.” That sounds like an oxymoron to me. “Ethically guided” and “embryonic stem cell research” should not be in the same sentence. I don’t care where they get the embryos from, you can’t “ethically guide” the research because taking a human life at any stage is wrong!

From the time the sperm hits the egg a life has begun, a unique life unlike any other before it or after — what you’re going to look like, your sex, your IQ, your finger prints, if you’re left-handed or right-handed, whether or not you’ll have a birth defect, if you’re dyslexic or not, are all decided at that point in time. Once you’ve destroyed that embryo, there will never be another person like him or her.

Mr. Kerry remarked, ” I believe we have the option . . . of curing Parkinson’s, curing diabetes, curing paraplegic or quadriplegic . . . spinal cord injury, anything; that’s the nature of the human spirit.” Is “the nature of the human spirit” to kill life in order to cure life? I don’t think so.

Senator Kerry continues, “I think it is respecting life to reach for that cure. I think it is respecting life to do it in an ethical way. And the president has chosen a policy that makes it impossible for our scientists to do that.” Again here he does not acknowledge the facts the questioner had already stated — that we have been finding cures without killing embryos.

To rap it all up Senator Kerry says, “I want the future, and I think we have to grab it.” But even if embryonic stem cells could help, should we grab someone else’s future away from them in order to have our own?

I’m glad Senator Kerry was not elected but if he, and other liberal lawmakers like him, continue to disregard all facts and morality, it could cause devastating effects for America, on America’s young, and on her ethics. 1


  1. This article has been revised. To see the original article, please go to, accessed 11/10/2004.