A Diabetic Responds to Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox breaks my heart. I’m sad to see him suffer with Parkinson’s disease—but sadder to realize that someone has given him false hope about human embryonic stem cell research. In his Maryland, Missouri and Wisconsin political ads, plus national interviews, I’m further distressed to watch him mislead millions more onto that same path toward despair.

Regarding Missouri’s proposed Amendment 2, which would forge a constitutional right to clone, destroy, buy and sell embryonic human beings, Fox told ABC News, “You know, I campaigned for Claire McCaskill. And so I have to qualify it by saying I’m not qualified to speak on the page-to-page content of the initiative. Although, I am quite sure that I’ll agree with it in spirit. … On full disclosure, I haven’t read it, and that’s why I didn’t put myself up for it distinctly.”

As a brittle diabetic who has survived at least 50 bouts of near-death paralysis from insulin shock, I beg your indulgence. After all, embryonic stem cell proponents trumpet the cause of curing my condition as often as they cite Michael’s affliction.

I’ve never written about my illness, but now millions of human lives are stake. For the sake of others, I admit that it hasn’t been easy dealing with diabetes since the age of five. Already I’ve taken nearly 30,000 insulin injections. I cannot heal from injury, infection or surgery like normal people. Consequently, I know pain, damage to major organs and sorrow; so I would be among the happiest people should scientists find a cure. Nevertheless, a cure isn’t worth the expense of even one single human being’s life.

As a journalist, I am outraged that lobbyists and politicians use science fiction to convince diabetics and Parkinson’s victims that the lives of vulnerable persons must be sacrificed to cure them, when, in fact, embryonic stem cell research has produced no cures. That’s because it defies the law of nature. When embryonic stem cells are extracted from their natural habitat within developing persons, they become cancerous tumors. For this reason, reasonable biotech companies are investing in adult stem cell research whereas human embryonic stem cell research proponents are desperately attempting to trick hardworking taxpayers into funding fruitless research.

In his interview with Katie Couric, Michael J. Fox said he wants science to move forward, but only ethical science is moving forward. He claimed that extra human embryos produced via in vitro fertilization will never become life and since they will be thrown away, they should be used for stem cell experiments to protect others who will be born with diabetes or Parkinson’s. He said that’s the pro-life position and that IVF has been going on for 20 years, then asked why there’s been no outcry.

MIT stem cell scientist Dr. James Sherley says, “Michael J. Fox doesn’t have all the information—he needs to make sure he gets the facts right. By criteria that scientists understand, a human embryo is alive. We all started out that way and it’s an insult to devalue someone based on his or her stage of life. It’s the same as saying that 50-year-olds are invalid.”

Furthermore, in my view, to say that we should conduct stem cell experiments on embryonic persons because they will be thrown away is like congratulating the Nazis for making lampshades from the skin of Jews and others who they gruesomely murdered. And there has been a resounding outcry against in vitro fertilization and human embryonic stem cell research, but journalists turn deaf ears.

In September, I witnessed hundreds of scientists and bioethicists gather in Rome for “Stem Cells: What Future for Therapy?” a congress organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Sherley and other attending scientists were alarmed about the public perception of stem cell research. They called for their colleagues to be honest, journalists to report the truth and the public to demand ethical research.

At least 65 diseases are being treated with adult or umbilical cord stem cells. Ethical trials on diabetes and Parkinson’s disease are taking place too. Dr. David Hess from the Medical College of Georgia is treating stroke patients through the stimulation of adult stem cells native to a patient’s own body. Dr. Carlos Lima of Lisbon, Portugal, demonstrated that when patients paralyzed by spinal injury are treated with olfactory stem cells, they can crawl and eventually walk. He collaborates with Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

Dr. Peter Hollands of the UK Cord Blood Bank is a human embryonic stem cell research pioneer, but given its failure, he now recommends the use of cord blood stem cells. “The sooner we stop wasting precious resources on embryonic stem cell research the sooner we will have stem cell cures for the people who really matter in all of this—the patients,” he told There is a lot of good news about ethical stem cell research, if only mainstream journalists would report it.

Michael J. Fox is gifted with charisma, so I implore him to do his research and use that charisma to help people instead of endorsing the cloning and killing of his fellow human beings. I further ask the citizens of Missouri to vote NO on Amendment 2; its dangers are spelled out at