House Approves Expanded Stem Cell Research
In the face of a threatened veto by President Bush, U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie today joined 246 House colleagues in passing the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act." The bill would override Bush's 2001 Executive Order limiting federal funding for research involving embryonic stem cell to stem cell lines that existed at that time. Many of those lines turned out to be contaminated or too old and were unusable for further research.
Today's bill would authorize federal funding for stem cell research that meets the following requirements:
* The stem cells must be derived from human embryos donated by in vitro fertilization clinics, and that were created for fertility treatment, but were in excess of the clinical needs of the people seeking such treatment;
* The embryos would not have been used for fertility treatment, and would otherwise be discarded; and
* The individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the embryos with informed written consent and without any financial payment or other inducement to make the donation.
"Embryonic stem cells represent some of the best hope for conquering debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson's," said Abercrombie. "It is tragic that President Bush continues to ignore sound medical science and the will of the American people to put shackles on those working to develop life-saving for terrible diseases."
"It is important to keep in mind: this legislation authorizes federal research funds for stem cell lines generated from embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics. It would bring embryonic stem cell research under the strict controls and eithical guidelines of the National Institutes of Health. This legislation does not seek to destroy life. It seeks to preserve life. It has the potential to bring hope and health to millions. I hope the President will sign it."