If You Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research . . .
The Dec. 3 op-ed "Standing in the Way of Stem Cell Research," by Alan I. Leshner and James A. Thomson, seemed surprisingly disingenuous, given the stature of the authors. The federal government is not standing in the way of embryonic stem cell research. It is only declining to use our tax dollars for that purpose because many Americans, myself included, are morally opposed to such research.
There is no prohibition on privately funded research, and there is research being done in other countries as well. If Mr. Leshner and Mr. Thomson feel so positively that embryos are appropriate targets for destruction in the name of scientific advancement, I would encourage them and others who feel the same way to contribute their own money to institutions that are doing this work instead of just insisting that mine be used.
Similarly, American couples are free to donate their frozen embryos to private or offshore institutions. It's interesting that neither of these alternatives seem to ever be suggested.