FROM THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
to the Nation
August 7, 2004
Good morning, this is John Kerry.
Three years ago, the President enacted a far-reaching
ban on stem cell research, shutting down some of the most
promising work to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimers, Parkinsons,
diabetes, AIDS and so many other life-threatening diseases.
Those affected by this decision already mark so many hard
anniversaries of their own. The day you get a call from
a doctor when he brings you the results of a diagnosis
and it makes your heart sink. Or the day that people told
you that they tried everything possible to make you better – and
now, you were all out of options. The day you said goodbye
to someone you loved, and all the days that followed that
were never quite the same. Marking today’s anniversary
only adds to the loss and the pain.
Right now, more than 100 million Americans suffer from
illnesses that one day could be wiped away with stem-cell
therapy. Stem cells could replace damaged heart cells or
cells destroyed by cancer, offering a new lease on life
to those with a diagnosis that once came with an inevitable
death sentence. Stem cells have the power to slow the loss
of a grandmother’s memory, calm the hand of an uncle
with Parkinson’s, save a child from a lifetime of
daily insulin shots, or permanently lift a best friend
from his or her wheelchair.
At this very moment, some of the most pioneering cures
and treatments are right at our fingertips, but because
of the stem cell ban, they remain beyond our reach.
This is not the way we do things in America. Here in America,
we don’t sacrifice science for ideology. We are a
land of discovery – a place where innovators and
optimists are free to dream and explore. Where government
encourages creativity and entrepreneurship instead of stifling
it. Where we’re always searching for the next breakthrough,
always pushing the boundaries of our knowledge. And that’s
why we must lift the ban on stem cell research – and
do so immediately. Every day that we wait, more than 3,000
Americans lose their lives to diseases that may someday
be treatable because of stem cell research.
We must make funding for this research and other important
scientific work a priority in our universities and our
medical community. And we must secure more funding for
it at agencies like the National Institutes of Health and
the National Science Foundation.
Above all, we must look to the future not with fear, but
with the hope and the faith that advances in science will
advance our highest ideals.
We know that progress has always brought with it the worry
that this time, we have gone too far. Believe it or not,
there was a time when some questioned the morality of heart
transplants. Not too long ago, we heard the same kind of
arguments against the biotechnology research that now saves
stroke victims and those with leukemia.
People of good will and good sense can resolve the ethical
issues without stopping life-saving research. America has
long led the world in great discoveries, always upholding
the highest standards, with our breakthroughs and our beliefs
always going hand-in-hand. And when it comes to stem cell
research, we will demand no less.
So to all of you who sit by the bedside of someone you
love, losing hope about what the future holds. To those
who lie awake at night, wondering whether you’ll
be around for a best friend’s wedding, a daughter’s
graduation, a grandson’s first steps. To those who
pray each day for cures that are now beyond our reach – I
want you to know that help is on the way.
I want you to hold on, and keep faith, because come next
January, when John Edwards and I are sworn into office,
we’re going to create a new anniversary – one
that will be a cause for celebration. We’re going
to lift the ban on stem cell research. We’re going
to listen to our scientists and stand up for science. We’re
going to say yes to knowledge, yes to discovery, and yes
to a new era of hope for all Americans.
Thanks for listening.