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Poll shows "overwhelming support" for embryonic stem cell research

In case you missed it, a poll released late last week shows that most Americans support research using embryonic stem cells. As reported by HealthDay News' Amanda Gardner, in a survey of 2,113 adults conducted in late Sept., 72 percent said scientists should be allowed to use embryonic stem cells left over from in vitro fertilization procedures to study ways to treat or prevent disease:

"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."

Among other findings, 66 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "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." And 51 percent agreed that if the federal government doesn't fund this type of research, "the United States will fall behind other countries in terms of leadership in the development of new drugs and preventing diseases."

Gardner noted that the survey took place during "a critical juncture in legal arguments surrounding stem cell research in the United States." Just one month prior, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that federal funds could not be used to support embryonic stem cell research. That decision is now being appealed.

Related: U.S. Court of Appeals suspends ban on stem cell funding, Stanford stem cell expert weighs in on district court ruling

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