Crowley Criticizes Bush For Thwarting Life-Saving Stem Cell Legislation
Chief Deputy Whip Joseph Crowley (D-Queens & the Bronx) today criticized President Bush for vetoing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (HR 810), and in effect, denying hope to millions of Americans. Congressman Crowley joined members in attempting to override the President's veto as the House again took up HR 810, which would expand federal funding for enormously promising embryonic stem cell research, while imposing strict ethical safeguards on the studies. The final vote (235-193), however, failed to reach a two-thirds majority to overturn the veto.
"President Bush used his first veto of his entire Presidential career to thwart important life-saving research that would provide hope to so many Americans suffering from diseases that could be treated and cured through embryonic stem cell therapy. Unfortunately, the President chose to misrepresent this issue to energize a narrow base in an election year, rather than allowing progress to be made in developing break-through treatments that would save millions of lives," said Rep. Crowley, an original co-sponsor of HR 810. "Both chambers of Congress now must act together in overriding this veto so our doctors and scientists can develop cures to diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease."
The embryonic stem cell bill would have lifted President Bush's executive order blocking federal funding for any stem cell research using embryonic stem cell lines developed after Aug. 6, 2001. The legislation would allow the use of embryos that would otherwise be discarded and with written consent from the donors for the use of the embryos, now numbering about 400,000, that are stored at fertility clinics.
To qualify for federal funding under the bill, newer embryos could be used in studies only if they:
were created for the purposes of fertility treatment;
were donated by in vitro fertilization clinics with written, informed consent of those being treated;
were "in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking such treatment" and would never be implanted in a woman;
would otherwise be discarded, as determined by those seeking treatment; and
were not donated by patients induced to do so by financial or other incentives.
Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to unlock the doors to treatments and cures to numerous diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and spinal cord injuries. Stem cell research could benefit an estimated 100 million Americans - those with these diseases and those having family members with these diseases.