Should a craven lie deny America a strong stem cell research-supporting Senator?


A scurrilous attack ad was just run by incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole against stem cell research supporter and Senatorial candidate Kay Hagan of North Carolina.


In an expensive and widely-distributed television ad, Dole attacked Hagan’s religious faith, calling her “Godless”.


Believe it or not, the ad shows Kay Hagan’s face with her lips moving—and somebody else’s voice saying: “There is no God”.


Ms. Hagan, by the way, is an elder in her Presbyterian Church for more than ten years. She has worked as a Sunday School teacher for that church, and assists on its missions.


The shame is on Senator Dole, who personally approved the ad, for stooping to such depths to clutch on to her power.


What a tragedy it would be if such slimy trash were allowed to deny North Carolina a stem cell supporting Senator.


Unfortunately, propaganda sometimes works. North Carolina is a deeply Christian state, and if that lie is believed, even for just a few days…


As Ms. Hagan’s campaign said: “Elizabeth Dole would love nothing more than to distract from the issues and her record for the last five days of the campaign….”


And speaking of Elizabeth Dole’s record, where does she stand on stem cell research?


She takes her cue from George Bush’s endless restrictions—no new stem cell lines, ever.


America has repudiated such short-sighted obstacles to progress. Legislation to moderate those restrictions has twice passed the House of Representatives and the United States Senate, only to be vetoed each time by President Bush, with the help of Senator Dole.


With an estimated 100 million citizens suffering from incurable disease and disability, and health care costs skyrocketing beyond our ability to pay, families are united in their determination to have access to the best medical treatment modern science can provide.


How do North Carolinians feel about the research that matters so much to so many?


They support embryonic stem cell research by a huge majority, more than 5-3 in favor*. 


Why does this matter to me?


My son Roman Reed is paralyzed. His neck was broken playing college football. But we have not given up on hope.


Our son inspired California’s first embryonic stem cell research funding, through a law named after him, the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act.


On March 1, 2002, in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC Irvine, I held in my hand a laboratory rat which had been paralyzed, but which now walked again, thanks to embryonic stem cells- and this while my paralyzed son watched from his wheelchair.


That research experiment is now before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) being considered for human trials. If all goes well, in about three months, newly-paralyzed people may have the chance my son did not—the opportunity to walk out of the hospital, instead of being condemned to a wheelchair for life.


But new stem cell research lines would not be allowed under the Bush-Dole restrictions.


Both Presidential candidates know this, and have pledged to overturn those restrictions: despite their differences, John McCain and Barrack Obama understand the need for new embryonic stem cell research lines.


But not Elizabeth Dole.


She is out of touch with North Carolina’s hopes and dreams for cure, not only for paralysis, but for many diseases and disabilities considered incurable, but which stem cell therapies may alleviate or cure.


Now, behind in the polls, Ms. Dole has even lost track of the North Carolina State Motto, Esse Quam Videri: “to be, rather than to seem.”


In North Carolina, honesty matters.


I am myself an outsider to this state, so maybe my opinions do not matter. But I appreciate Ms. Hagan’s courageous support for the research which may allow my son to fulfill the great prediction of Christopher Reeve, who said, in a private letter to our family:


“One day, Roman and I will stand up from our wheel chairs, and walk away from them forever.”—Christopher Reeve.


Cure did not come in time for our champion, but the flame of his faith still lights our way. The research he supported will go forward—with people like Kay Hagan in office.


I urge every stem cell research supporter in America to do what I just did: go to www.Kayhagan.com, and contribute $25. If you can afford more, do so.


Help her withstand these disgusting attack ads. Do it not just because Kay Hagan is a fighter for stem cell research. But because North Carolina—and America–  need deserve women like her in leadership.


People who will tell the truth.


Thank you.



Don C. Reed is the citizen-sponsor of California’s Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, named after his paralyzed son.


*When asked for their overall opinion on medical research involving stem cells from human embryos…a majority, 53.4%, said they either support or “strongly support” it; 30.8% said they oppose…”—The News Observer, newsobserver.com, October 7, 2008









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