Most Americans Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research:
THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Americans overwhelmingly
support embryonic stem cell research, and that backing stretches
across a broad range of demographic groups, including Republicans,
Catholics and born-again Christians, according to a new
Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.
Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of the adults surveyed
believe that scientists should be allowed to use embryonic stem
cells left over from in vitro fertilization procedures to search
for potential treatments or ways to prevent diseases such as
Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes and other
Only 12 percent oppose using stem cells for biomedical research,
numbers that mirror those from a similar poll conducted in
"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
Sanberg, too, is optimistic about the field's potential, saying
that the "data from scientists continues to show promise in
degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and in other conditions,
such as stroke, diabetes, heart attack and traumatic brain
The poll, which was conducted online between Sept. 28-30 and
included 2,113 adults aged 18 and over, took place at a critical
juncture in legal arguments surrounding stem cell research in the
In late August, 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
In the wake of that stay, U.S. government officials announced
that researchers at the National Institutes of Health would resume
working with embryonic stem cells.
Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found that Americans'
support for embryonic stem cell research has remained steady since
the 2005 findings.
Among the latest poll's results:
- 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
- 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
- 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."
- Twenty percent think embryonic stem cell research "comes too
close to allowing scientists to play God."
- Almost two-thirds (62 percent) said they do not agree that
"allowing any medical research using stem cells from human embryos
should be forbidden because it is unethical and immoral."
- Slightly more than half of the respondents said they feel that
lack of federal funding for stem cell research would leave the
United States far behind other nations in developing new drugs and
- Twenty-eight percent of those polled agreed with the following
statement: "I don't believe that we should put the interests of
medical science ahead of the preservation of human life, which
includes human embryos."
Read more about the poll's findings and methodology at
Learn more about stem cell research at the
National Institutes of Health.
Copyright © 2010
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.