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Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC


STEM CELL RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - June 07, 2007)

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(Mr. PENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PENCE. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his strong and clarion remarks on this rule.

Mr. Speaker, I oppose this rule and rise to oppose the underlying bill as well.

I must tell you, as I listened to the gentlelady from Ohio bring her remarks to the floor, I want to say, there they go again. There they go again, telling the American people that this is a debate between science and ideology when, in fact, destructive embryonic stem cell research, despite my strong moral objections, is completely legal in the United States of America.

The debate today is not about whether embryonic stem cell research, research that destroys a human embryo for scientific research, should take place. This is just about who pays for it.

I can understand why Members of the majority want to focus on this false choice between science and ideology. The language like America becoming a hostile environment for medical research is amusing me, because destructive embryonic stem cell research, and I say this with a heavy heart, is legal in all 50 States in America. It is simply that liberals in this country are not content to simply have research that destroys human embryos for unproven human science, but they want me to pay for it. They want tens of millions of Americans who, like I do, believe that life begins at conception to see their taxpayer dollars used to fund research that they find morally objectionable. That's really the issue.

The debate is not about whether we should do embryonic stem cell research, would that it was, would that we were here on the floor actually debating along the fault lines of science and morality. I am ready for that debate. Forty-eight years and nine months ago today, I was an embryo. I am ready to have the debate about the sanctity and the value of human life. But we are not having that debate today.

America since Roe v. Wade has moved past the issue that was framed so eloquently by the late President Ronald Reagan. He said, we cannot diminish the value of one category of one human life without diminishing the value of all human life.

But our Supreme Court made a decision decades ago that we would put choice above life. But I will stay in that moral debate. But, again, it's not what we're about today. And any one of my colleagues here on the floor and anyone listening in, let's at least be honest about what we're talking about. And that is, this debate is not about whether we should do embryonic stem cell research. And I know we've heard from wonderful scientists on our side of the aisle who've reminded us, inconvenient for the majority, that 100 percent of the scientific breakthroughs that have taken place in stem cell research have taken place in adult stem cell research. There's not been a single therapy developed from embryonic stem cell research, and there are scientific reasons why we can expect that there never will be, given the instability of nascent human life at that stage. But I'm not an expert in that area.

You know, I'm a guy; I come from south of Highway 40 in Indiana. I keep things real simple. This is just a debate about who pays for research that destroys human embryos. And I simply want to say again, this debate is not really about what an embryo is. This debate is about who we are as a Nation; whether or not Congress will, as they did before, send legislation to the President of the United States that will take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use it to fund research that they find morally objectionable. But I can count, Mr. Speaker. I expect this legislation will pass again. But I thank God that we have a President in the White House who will, I have every confidence, veto this legislation just as he did before, and that we have a tenacious pro-life minority in this House that will defend the President's veto.

Let me say, again, I believe that life begins at conception. And I believe it's morally wrong to create human life to destroy it for scientific research. But that is not what this debate is about. This debate is not about whether we should do embryonic stem cell research; it's about who pays for it. And liberals in this Congress are not content simply to have embryonic stem cell research legal in all 50 States. They want pro-life Americans like me to get our wallets out and finance it, and I'm not having that, Mr. Speaker.

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