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When our friend and advocate Joan Williams Hoover provided me with this powerful statement, I was uncertain of whether to include it under "CURE" or "COMPLICATIONS."

I decided that CURE was the proper venue.

On October 15, the Sunday Magazine of the Washington Post had an extensive article about a research scientist (Dr. Melton) at Harvard, who was seeking a cure for his young son's (Sam) diabetes through stem cell research.

He was prevented from continuing this work since stem cells for research are derived from the frozen embryos left over from in vitro fertilization. They were never going to be "people", but in some eyes, since they once had that potential, it was/is believed that they should not be used. The article then went on to discuss the ethical questions involved.

I responded with a Letter to the Editor, and on December 3rd, the Post printed my response. It was as follows:

Re: "God and Science"
By Arthur Allen

The Washington Post Magazine

October 15th 2000

Dear Sirs:

Perhaps the struggle of young Sam Melton, with his erratic blood sugar levels, does not seem serious enough to balance the ethical use of human embryo stem cells for diabetes research. Fortunately, Sam, his research biologist father, Douglas, and their family, have yet to experience the true wrath of juvenile onset diabetes.

My daughter died last month from the complications of her juvenile diabetes. She was blind, had endured two kidney transplants, triple bypass coronary surgery, an amputated leg, a massive stroke, and in all, 38 surgeries in 15 years. As odious as blood testing and insulin injections can be, THIS is what diabetes can become.

Bioethicist Richard Doerflinger believes that the arguments in favor of stem cell research are inhumane. I suggest that to sentence Sam, and millions of other children like him, to a hell such as my daughter has endured in her short life, is a far greater act of inhumanity. Consider also that these children are already with us and are already suffering. Surely that fact alone should tip the balance of this argument in favor of the stem cell research.


Joan Williams Hoover
6902 Oakridge Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

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