Robin Erb and Detroit Free Press shill for embryonic stem cells again

Editor’s note. This appeared Monday on the blog of Right to Life of Michigan

In the most recent of a long line of puff pieces the Detroit Free Press has printed on embryonic stem cell research, Detroit Free Press Medical Writer Robin Erb continuously reiterates the lie that embryonic stem cell research was banned in Michigan prior to 2008 while at the same time trying to downplay the complete failure of embryonic stem cells to create the cures it advocates promised.

“Embryonic stem cell research is a fledgling science, but four years after Michigan voters lifted the ban on such research, U-M is staking its claim.”

Instead of cures, Erb celebrates that the University of Michigan is submitting human embryonic stem cell lines to the National Institutes of Health.

“On Wednesday, Smith submitted his 11th and 12th embryonic stem cell lines to the National Institutes of Health for inclusion on a national registry, adding to 10 lines submitted and accepted earlier this year.”

The NIH has accepted 184 human embryonic stem cell lines since 2009.  Remember when stem cell advocates promised cures once President Bush’s 2001 funding limits were overturned? 

Erb also includes this ridiculous assertion from embryonic stem cell advocate and billionaire Al Taubman.

“Taubman helped finance the campaign to pass the 2008 ballot proposal that lifted the ban and has been relentless in his support of stem cell research, roaring at a politician in 2010:

“’Embryonic stem cell is probably the most important thing that’s happened in medicine probably ever. Ever.’”

More important than penicillin?  More important than the development of aspirin?  More important than the development of numerous life-saving vaccines?  Many people would question Taubman’s sanity after hearing that assertion.  Not Erb.

Instead of taking the time to find and interview someone who is opposed to killing human embryos for research, Erb finds someone who claims to be prolife but clearly doesn’t understand the principles of prolife movement.

“Katie Marzolf chooses her words carefully.

“’I’m definitely pro-life. I don’t believe in abortion. But I’m not going to judge. There’s cancer out there, heart disease, MS (multiple sclerosis) … I understand that it’s a human life,’ she said of the embryos that would be discarded if not used for research. ‘But I think of the human lives that might be saved’ through embryonic stem cell lines.”

The article ends with embryonic stem cell advocate Danny Heumann admitting that the promised cures haven’t come.

“’We are doing so much in the state — great things. Are we curing anybody yet? No. But will we cure somebody some day? I sure as hell hope so,’ he said.”

Notably missing from the article is any discussion of the numerous problems embryonic stem cells will have to overcome before they cure anyone.  That might have made the story if Erb bothered to interview anyone opposed to treating human beings as research materials.  Also missing is how the discovery of and research on induced pluripotent stem cells have dramatically shifted where scientists are going with stem cell research.