It's on its way.
The ad couldn't be any better at expressing the anti-stem cell lobby's talking points. Unfortunately, it does such a good job largely because it's deceptive about its main point.
The ad, put out by the Right to Life Committee of NM depicts a woman in a wheelchair, saying she wants to be cured of a disease, but not if it involves embryonic stem cell research, since that will deprive a potential life. She goes on to talk about how adult stem cells and stem cells from other sources have been used to treat various conditions, while embryonic stem cells have not yet been used in therapeutic treatments.
I think it's an effective ad--the woman appears quite sincere and suitably emotional. However, as I also mentioned, the ad is deceptive on two major fronts.
First, part of the reason why embryonic stem cell research has not yielded any new cures is that the embargo on federal financing has basically hamstrung the US research community for the last five years. In addition, scientific fraud like the Hwang debacle in South Korea hasn't helped; it turned back the clock by a year or two on its own. However, there is no doubt in my mind that the hurdles that must be crossed to carry out embryonic stem cell research in the US are so burdensome that it's little wonder that we're still years away from a cure.
More importantly, though, the ad lies about how the embryos are created. Very few people are advocating the creation of embryos for the express purpose of harvesting them for their stem cells. Even the stem cell research bill recently passed by the House prohibits work on stem cells derived in this manner.
Instead, people who support embryonic stem-cell research need to make it very clear that the source of the embryos is the "by-products" of in vitro fertilization treatments: embryos that, if not harvested, would otherwise be incinerated. I believe that most people would rather see stem cells harvested from embryos if they knew that the alternative is that the embryo is just thrown away.
However, the forces who are determined to stop this potentially groundbreaking research don't want people to make a rational, informed decision. Instead, they trot out the tired, but still effective "murdering embryos" canard that the anti-abortion lobby uses.
What we need is a comparable ad, one that explains where embryonic stem cells should come from (unneeded IVF embryos that would otherwise be discarded), where they should not come from, and why they're so important. We know that when they know the issues, the majority of Americans favor stem cell research (Sen. McCaskill knows that firsthand). I think we just need to be vigilant about the fact that we're still not out of the woods.