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Public Statements

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


STEM CELL RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - May 24, 2005)

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Mrs. BONO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 810. I would like to thank the chairman for all of his work in bringing this bill to the floor, and I would like to thank my leadership for allowing a vote on this important legislation.

As Representatives, we are in the unique position to frequently meet with a wide cross-section of people, many of whom are suffering from debilitating diseases, injuries, and ailments. These millions of patients, as well as their loved ones, have a clear message for policymakers: we support this research and we need their help.

Opponents of this bill have argued that we should not use Federal funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research. I respectfully disagree. The issue at hand is allowing for more pristine stem cell lines to be eligible for research. Scientists and researchers throughout the United States are constantly reminding us that the focus needs to be on the quality of the stem cell lines available which are eligible for Federal research. I would also like to state that there is no funding for the derivation of the lines and the lines must be ethically in accordance with the principles the President has laid out in his policy. We are undoubtedly slowing research progress by forbidding researchers from using Federal funds to conduct research.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has said about embryonic stem cell research: ``Science has presented us with a hope called stem cell research, which may provide our scientists with many answers that for so long have been beyond our grasp. I just don't see how we can turn our backs on this. We have lost so much time already. I just really can't bear to lose any more.''

We all know that the impetus for Nancy Reagan was the battle that her husband, President Ronald Reagan, fought with Alzheimer's disease. The former first lady is not alone. Over 4.5 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer's. I am encouraged by scientists' claims that embryonic stem cells will allow for more research on Alzheimer's, including the possibility that they may be used to grow new brain cells to replace the brain tissue destroyed by the disease.

Dana Reeves, the widow of actor and activist Christopher Reeves, sat with me less than 2 months ago and shared her family's devastating story. The potential for turning the hope for spinal cord injury into reality is evident, and I believe that by passing this legislation we can clear the way for research to move forward.

Dana and Nancy are just two of the more visible faces of public figures who have asked for this research.

Mr. Speaker, I implore my colleagues to please support this legislation, H.R. 810.

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