Steele supports stem cell--sort of
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele expressed qualified support today for embryonic stem cell research, two days after causing an uproar by linking the science to medical experimentation during the Holocaust.
Steele, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, used a radio interview to try to distance himself from the dustup and expand his views on the controversial research. He offered several conditions of his support and gave one example of a type of research that some leading scientists in the field say is not practical at this point.
"I support embryonic stem cell research, however, I am cautious of the science and want the scientists and politicians to be smart in how we approach it," he said during an interview on WBAL-AM radio in Baltimore. "I don't want this research to go forward without some moral compass to guide the research."
A Roman Catholic and former seminary student, Steele opposes abortion and the death penalty. But he said yesterday he supports Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s proposal to spend $20 million in state money for stem cell research, which is considered promising for the development of treatments for a host of diseases.
As an example of his support, Steele cited research at the National Institutes of Health, in which he said scientists are extracting the cells they need "without destroying the embryo."
Several leading stem cell researchers, including John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, have said that technique is impractical for now, however.
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