Paul Berg, George Q. Daley and Lawrence S.B. Goldstein ["Stem Cell 'Alternatives' Fog the Debate," op-ed, July 19] said that opponents of H.R. 810, a bill that would expand stem cell research, are promoting alternative but "dubious approaches to obtaining stem cells." However, as someone who suffered a spinal cord injury nearly nine years ago, I believe that the alternatives in the Respect for Life Pluripotent Stem Cell Act (H.R. 3144) -- particularly, somatic cell reprogramming -- may offer the most promise for the future.
Few people truly oppose embryonic stem cell research. What they oppose is the destruction of embryos to obtain these cells. If you remove the destruction of embryos from the equation, even the most strident opponents will support stem cell research. The Respect for Life act attempts to do this.
President Bush has threatened to veto a bill such as H.R. 810, and the bill's supporters do not have enough votes to overturn a veto.
H.R. 3144 has its flaws, primarily a lack of significant funding, but if your op-ed writers want embryonic stem cell research to proceed at a faster pace, they should support both bills and push for H.R. 3144 to include more funding.