London, Sept. 17 (Reuters): Christopher Reeve, the Hollywood star paralysed from the neck down, today said the Catholic church and President George W. Bush had obstructed research which might free him from his wheelchair.
The actor, who found film fame as Superman, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper the Bush Administration had caved in on the issue of embroyonic stem cell research after the Catholic church expressed opposition to cloning.
“If we’d had full government support, full government funding for aggressive research using embryonic stem cells from the moment they were first isolated, at the University of Wisconsin in the winter of 1998 — I don’t think it unreasonable to speculate that we might be in human trials by now.”
Reeve, paralysed seven years ago when he was thrown from his horse, said he was “angry, and disappointed”, that Bush had hampered developments in stem cell research which might have led to human trials aimed at rebuilding the nervous systems of quadriplegics.
“I think we could have been much further along with scientific research than we actually are,” he said.
The actor said President Bush had paid too much heed to the Catholic church.
“There are religious groups Ä the Jehovah's Witness, I believe Ä who think it's a sin to have a blood transfusion. Well, what if the president for some reason decided to listen to them, instead of to the Catholics, which is the group he really listens to in making his decisions about embryonic stem cell research'” Reeve was quoted as saying.
Reeve is supporting a bill that would support therapeutic cloning while punishing those who carried out reproductive cloning.
The actor, who has round-the-clock medical care which costs him 270,000 pounds ($417,000) a year, once said he wanted to be on his feet by the time he was 50 Ä a birthday just eight days away.
”It's defeatist to harp on what might have been, and yet, it's hard to resist considering what might have been,” he said.