The local debate over embryonic stem cells - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

The local debate over embryonic stem cells

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Dubuque (KWWL) -- President Obama signed an executive order Monday reversing a 2001 directive from President Bush. Obama is now allowing federal taxpayer dollars to fund broader research on embryonic stem cells.

For some Iowans, it's cause for extreme concern, while for others, it's a beacon of hope.

"It started out with a little twitch in the thumb, and then pretty soon, it got stronger and stronger. Finally, my doctor sent me to a neurologist, and he diagnosed me with Parkinson's," David Simon said.

David Simon has been living with Parkinson's Disease for about seven years.

"It takes longer to do things. I don't have too many physical impediments to doing most normal things for a 72 year old. I can still bicycle a little bit," Simon said.

Simon hopes stem cells might help treat his disease and others in the future, and he supports the use and research of stem cells, both adult and embryonic.

"I think it's more important that it'll help other living people in the future. That to me is a higher priority," Simon said.

Others disagree -- arguing using embryonic stem cells is destroying life.

"No embryo should have to be discarded. No embryo should have to be destroyed for scientific research," Steve Brody of Dubuque County Right to Life said.

Brody and many other pro-lifers want to see scientists use what they believe is more successful and ethical -- only adult cells.

"You can get stem cells from so many other sources in the human body right now that it's not necessary to look to human embryos to do their research," Brody said.

As for Simon, he is using a variety of symptom relievers like medication and doing Thai chi and puzzles, but he hopes with the new executive order, others might have more options.

"I don't ever expect to benefit by stem cell implants, but I hope others who come along in the future will benefit by the scientific research," Simon said.

Online Reporter;  Jamie Grey

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