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James Kelly, as regular readers of Secondhand Smoke know, is paralyzed from an auto accident and has become one of the nation’s foremost and dedicated activist promoting stem cell research: Adult stem cell research. Kelly has researched the matter quite thoroughly. As reported in this extensive analysis of the recent election in National Review Online, when challenged to be “pro science,” Kelly responded that he is “pro cures.”

I find it amazing—but not surprising—that the media fawns over embryonic stem cell activists with serious afflictions and disabilities, but generally ignore the Jim Kellys of the world. After all, we live in a culture where only “the victims” supposedly have true moral authority to take positions on such issues. But, of course, that is only true if one toes the Establishment line. Kelly takes a heterodox view and that makes him, I guess, not an authentic victim.

He closes his interesting piece with this important point: “When the NIH refuses to fund credible clinical trials using adult stem cells or cord blood to save Americans from suffering from stroke, spinal cord injury, ALS, diabetes, or Parkinson’s Disease, the public needs to hear of it. If Americans can be shown that their health is being sacrificed, that their hopes are being exploited, and their trust has been betrayed to promote biotech financial goals, stem cell issues will become conservative and pro-life political strengths, rather than weaknesses.

“In urging conservatives to take a hard-line approach to stem cells issues it might be said that I’m being selfish—that I suggest this course because I hope to walk again, because I want countless millions with diseases and disabilities to see their hopes fulfilled, because I don’t want others to needlessly suffer. If anyone were to say that, he’d be right.”

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