More MS news articles for July 2001

Six in Ten Americans Favor Stem Cell Research

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 26 - About 60% of Americans, including many Catholics and born-again Christians, support embryonic stem cell research, according to the results of a Harris poll released Wednesday.

In fact, slightly more than 60% of Catholics and half of born-again Christians surveyed agreed that scientists should be allowed to use stem cells in their medical research.

But the Catholic Church has not changed its stance on such research. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a statement on Wednesday that reinforced the Catholic Church's opposition. It was a follow-up to President Bush's Monday meeting with Pope John Paul, during which the pope urged Bush to reject research on human embryos.

The statement released Wednesday reinforced the Vatican's opposition to both the creation of human embryos for research purposes and the use of stem cells from frozen embryos left over from infertility treatment.

The president said on Monday that he would take the pope's views into consideration as he deliberated about whether federal funds should be used to support embryonic stem cell research.

The new poll results indicate that many Americans are in favor of stem cell research. A majority of Democrats and Independents surveyed expressed support, along with almost half of Republicans.

Almost 70% of the respondents said they were familiar with the stem cell research debate, and 63% of this group expressed support for the research.

More than 7 in 10 respondents said that stem cell research should be allowed if "the parents of the embryo give their permission, and the embryo would otherwise be destroyed." Sixty-three percent agreed that the public should trust scientists and permit them to use stem cells if they believe that doing so will lead to new disease treatments and methods of disease prevention.

On the other hand, 4 in 10 respondents agreed with the statement that "using cells from human embryos for research comes too close to allowing scientists to play God," and about one third said that stem cell research is "unethical and immoral."

The poll, conducted earlier this month, involved telephone surveys of more than 1000 adults.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd