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Embryonic Stem Cell Research Receives Widespread Support from Americans
New poll finds 72% of adults surveyed believe research has merit
NORWALK, Connecticut, USA (October 7, 2010) – A large majority of Americans across various demographic groups agree that scientists should be able to use stem cells for biomedical research, according to a recent Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.
This poll took place at a critical juncture in legal arguments surrounding stem cell research in the United States. Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that federal funding of embryonic stem cell research violated a 1996 law prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for such work. The Obama administration appealed that decision. Soon after, an appeals court issued a temporary suspension of the ban until it could hear full arguments over the next few weeks.
"There is now overwhelming public support for using embryonic stem cells in biomedical research," said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of the Harris Poll, a service of Harris Interactive. "Even among Catholics and born-again Christians, relatively few people believe that stem cell research should be forbidden because it is unethical or immoral."
Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa, said, "This [poll] shows that the public still believes that stem cells could lead to important therapeutics."
The poll was conducted online between Sept. 28-30 and included 2,113 adults ages 18 and over. Among its other findings:
- Seventy-three percent (versus 72 percent in 2005) believe that stem cell research should be allowed "as long as the parents of the embryo give their permission, and the embryo would otherwise be destroyed."
- Fifty-eight percent of Republicans think stem cell research is acceptable (versus 24 percent opposed), as do 69 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of born-again Christians. Sixteen percent of Catholics and 22 percent of born-again Christians oppose it.
- Two-thirds of the respondents agreed that, "If most scientists believe that stem cell research will greatly increase our ability to prevent or treat serious diseases we should trust them and let them do it."
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