Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02), issued the following statement in response to a widely publicized breakthrough in stem cell research in which scientists in Japan and at the University of Wisconsin genetically reprogrammed human skin cells to mimic embryonic stem cells. Their findings should end the debate over embryonic stem cell research because the new method does not result in the destruction of human embryos.
"Once again science itself has confirmed that advances in the field of human knowledge must never come at the expense of innocent human life. Even Dr. James Thompson, the scientist who pioneered the field of embryo-destructive stem cell research said, "If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough."
"This new evidence proving the effectiveness of adult skin cells in stem cell research unequivocally proves that President George W. Bush was right in his decision to veto stem cell legislation that would have seen human embryos used as commodities in the name of scientific research-- and Congress was right to uphold his vetoes.
"Science and research must always serve the cause of human life, never the other way around. If we lose sight of that, we lose the sight of foundational principle that made America great, which is that every human life has equal, inherent, and profound dignity and worth. Not only does this groundbreaking research demonstrate the brilliance of our scientific community, but it proves that in the long run, we never go wrong by protecting ethical principles in government advanced research."
Congressman Franks is a cosponsor of H.R. 322, the Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act of 2007, which would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop techniques for the isolation, derivation, production, or testing of stem cells that are capable of producing all cells types and may result in improved understanding of treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions, but are not derived from a human embryo.