Ryan Opposes Taxpayer Funding for Human Embryo-Destroying Research
First District Congressman Paul Ryan today voted against S. 5, legislation that would expand the ability of the federal government to force taxpayers to fund human embryo-destroying research. The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 247-176, which is not a large enough margin to override an expected presidential veto.
"With all the news about groundbreaking developments in ethical stem cell research, I'm disappointed the House leadership missed an opportunity to bring Congress together on this issue. Instead, they pushed forward with a divisive bill the President is sure to veto," Ryan said. "The bottom line is that our government doesn't have to choose between pursuing stem cell cures and maintaining the highest ethical standards. Now, more than ever, it's clear we can do both. We can respect human life at all its stages of development, while supporting advances in research on adult stem cells and other cells that can become like embryonic cells."
S. 5, like similar legislation voted on by Congress in the past, is not a bill to legalize human embryonic stem cell research. Such research is already legal in the U.S. and is being conducted at facilities around the country. This bill seeks to expand taxpayer funding of embryo-destroying research, a practice that many Americans object to.
House Republicans offered an alternative proposal, which did not pass, that would have directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct and support research involving stem cells that have "pluripotent" or embryonic-like qualities but are not derived from a human embryo. Ryan voted in favor of this alternative.
The promise and immense potential of such ethically noncontroversial research was spotlighted in newspapers around the country today, which reported on a scientific breakthrough that could generate what are essentially embryonic stem cells without harming living human embryos. According to the Washington Post: "Three teams of scientists said yesterday they had coaxed ordinary mouse skin cells to become what are effectively embryonic stem cells without creating or destroying embryos in the process - an advance that, if it works with human cells, could revolutionize stem cell research and quench one of the hottest bioethical controversies of the decade."