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Summer 2001: The "Stem Cell Wars"

Coverage of human genetic technology shifted dramatically in the summer of 2001, when controversy over embryonic stem cells consistently made the front pages of The New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national newspapers. The stem cell issue was often blurred by and confused with the issue of research cloning.

The media framed the issue simply as one of "medical progress versus pro-life politics" as the July 9 cover of Newsweek put it. Other voicesóincluding those pointing to the links between research cloning and reproductive cloning, and to the fact that research cloning is a technical prerequisite for germline engineeringówere all but absent.

Several articles have been published that serve as examples of the way the political field has been largely described as one of scientists hoping to save lives versus opponents of abortion rights who see destroying stem cells as equivalent to taking a life.

Examples of the way cloning and stem cells have been portrayed as interdependent technologies:

Carl Hall, "Untangling biotech issues: cloning is research field entirely separate from stem cells," San Francisco Chronicle (December 3, 2001) - attempts to disentangle cloning and stem cell technologies


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