When I read Reeve's testimony I almost fell out of my wheelchair. I could not believe that he would intentionally mislead the Senate or the American People regarding grave matters of public health. Either someone had lied to Reeve — had used him to mislead the Senate — was using him to mislead the public, or Reeve had said what he thought was the truth without bothering to check. I suspect he was misled. I have the use of my hands and arms, so I can sit for endless hours and search Pubmed. [Pubmed is an online comprehensive database maintained by the Nat'l Library of Medicine of peer-reviewed journal articles. -Chris] Reeve could not. He was at the mercy of 'experts.'
Thus the Senate was misled concerning research issues that could effect whether I walked again, whether my neighbor with Parkinson's has a hope to recover, whether a friend with Polio can ever run or dance. For me this cast the embryonic stem cell debate in a totally different light.
What if crucial time and money were wasted to develop myelinating cells from embryonic sources? (This is exactly what is happening.)
What if the Senate believed that myelinating cells could only be safe for medical use if produced through cloning (which Reeve also led the Senate to believe)?
What if similar misrepresentations were taking place regarding other areas of science, regarding other medical conditions (which I soon discovered was occurring)?
The 'stem cells and cloning' debates suddenly became far more complex than "religion versus cures." Because my medical condition was being used to mislead the Senate, I felt used and betrayed. However, perhaps Reeve was betrayed far worse.
Later that year I debated the practicality of cloning with Reeve at the New York Academy of Sciences. At Reeve's request I tried to tell him of an adult bone marrow clinical trial for ALS and SCI in Turin, Italy. But as I began to speak I was physically muzzled from behind by the scientific moderator of the debate. While I struggled to pull his hands from my mouth, fifty reporters looked on in stunned silence and Reeve's handlers quickly wheeled him from the room.
Not a word of this reached the public and Reeve remained in the dark.