More MS news articles for July 2001

Four-Nation Poll Finds Public Backs Embryo Stem Cell Research

MELBOURNE (Reuters Health) Jul 17 - A majority of Americans support the use of stem cells from human embryos for medical research, a four-nation poll on the controversial science has found.

The Roy Morgan International poll, released on Tuesday as President Bush was in the throes of deciding whether to allow taxpayers to fund stem cell research, also found that people in Britain, Australia and New Zealand were in favor of the research.

The survey by the respected Australian pollsters found that 63% of the 501 Americans interviewed approved of removing stem cells from human embryos to treat diseases and injuries, while 25% disapproved and 12% were undecided.

Similarly, 63% of 466 people interviewed in Britain, 72% of 1298 polled in Australia and 65% of 561 interviewed in New Zealand were in favor of using stem cells for medical therapies.

"You can see in this survey that America is more conservative than Australia on this issue," said Gary Morgan, chairman of Roy Morgan International. "The right-to-lifers are more vocal in the United States," he told Reuters.

A majority of people surveyed in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand said couples with excess embryos after infertility treatment should be able to choose to donate them for research rather than discard them.

However, opinions were more evenly split on therapeutic cloning, which involves injecting a patient's own genetic material into an egg to create an embryo that would be used to extract stem cells. In the United States 40% approved and 41% disapproved of therapeutic cloning, while in the United Kingdom 43% approved and 32% disapproved. Australians, with 52% in favor, showed the broadest support for therapeutic cloning.

Telephone interviews for the poll were conducted in June.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd