Bush correct in using caution on stem cell issue

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 12, 2001

No sooner than President Bush announced his decision to allow limited federal funding of stem cell research, critics from both sides began fussing over his choice.

We think his limited decision on the complicated issue shows measured and reasonable caution. The last thing the country needs to do is make a snap judgment on such a critical and difficult issue.

The stem cell research debate isn’t black or white. It mixes ethical, political and spiritual issues.

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Both sides have legitimate arguments, but few people are really certain how they feel on the issue.

Those against the use of cells taken from tiny day-old human embryos say it’s a matter of killing one potential life in order to possibly save another. Critics of stem cell research equate it to murder, and in some ways we can understand their position.

On the other side, hundreds of research scientists point to thousands of people who suffer from some truly horrible diseases which could benefit from breakthroughs stem cell research may bring. The patients’ stories are truly heart-breaking. It seems a shame to give up on potential life-saving research, too.

The &uot;correct&uot; path isn’t easy to determine.

This issue&160;- and how we as a country chooses to handle it – will say volumes to future generations about our humanity and priorities. But, more important, the issue defines spiritual and ethical boundaries which, once set, will be difficult to retract.

Taking our time on the issue, using caution and forethought is the absolute best plan we can see.