Monday, February 19, 2007

Visionary Leadership Requires a Moral Compass

This A.P. story focuses on lawmakers whose personal lives are very much affected by the medical/social issues they debate in Washington. And amid cases where politicians have bought the hype and wishful thinking of embryonic stem cell research to get help for themselves and their loved ones, there are these two examples of leadership that does not abandon basic biblical dictates regarding the sanctity of life.

Such leadership deserves our admiration...and our sincere thanks.

...Diabetes is considered one of the diseases that stem cell therapy might someday help.

But [Dan] Lipinski, D-Ill., 40, stands in the minority in his party in opposing federal financing of embryonic stem cell research because, to him, moral qualms trump medical promise. He objects to the fact that embryos must be destroyed to get the stem cells and favors research on other types of stem cells, such as from umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid.

"I desperately want to be cured of diabetes, and I want to see the suffering end for so many other people," said Lipinski, whose daily regimen includes four insulin injections and five drawings of blood. "But science continues to demonstrate we don't have to choose between advancing medical techniques and contentious life issues..."

...[Jeff] Fortenberry, R-Neb., offered that his 6-year-old daughter, Kathryn, has had three open-heart surgeries to treat atrial ventricular septal defect, a form of heart disease, and would need still more operations.

"We are probably looking at a fourth in the coming months, and in that surgery it is likely she will need a mechanical valve which further complicates her difficulties," he said.

Like many in his party, Fortenberry opposes research on embryonic stem cells. He said his spirits were lifted by a recent report on Swiss scientists who were beginning to grow children's heart valves from adult stem cells...

You might want to send a quick thank-you to these men for their principled, exemplary leadership. Below is the contact information.

Rep. Lipinski
1717 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5701
E-mail contact

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry
1517 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-4806
E-mail contact form