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Stem Cell Research

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC


STEM CELL RESEARCH -- (House of Representatives - March 11, 2009)

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

As a medical physician, a medical doctor, I'm certainly concerned about my patients, and I can understand people who are in wheelchairs wanting to walk again. I understand people who have Parkinson's disease wanting to not have the rigidity and shakes that they have with that disease and the degradation of their lifestyle that that horrible disease causes. And I, as a medical doctor, want to find cures for these diseases as well as many others.

But as we look at this issue, I don't think there's a single person with Parkinson's disease or a single person that's in a wheelchair that would be in favor of killing another human being so that they could walk again or so that they wouldn't shake and have the rigidity and all the devastating effects of Parkinson's. I don't think there's a person in this country, in this world, who would say ``I'm in favor of killing this 2-year-old little girl or this 6-year-old little boy so that my disease will be cured.''

But the facts are very simple. When we do embryonic stem cell research, we're killing human beings. That's a separate human being. It's a separate entity. And that person has the right to live just like you and I do. We can't forget that. These are people. They may be a one-cell or just a few-cell human beings, individuals, but they are still distinct human beings that have their own genetic makeup, that have their own ability to live if we will just put them in an environment where they can.

Now, I've got a friend at home that says that we ought to be able to take our 13 year olds and put them in the ground and dig them up when they're 25 and they'd be a whole lot better. And there are some parents who threaten to kill their teenage children, but they wouldn't really. But the thing is we are killing people. We're killing human beings.

And the unfortunate part of this whole discussion is there has been virtually zero, zero, very little, if any, positive results from killing these human beings, bringing about the research on these human beings. There has been very little. Whereas with adult stem cells, with germ cells, we see a tremendous promise. And just as you said, Congressman Smith, the President has put politics and the radical pro-death abortion groups in this country ahead of science. It is a mantra of death and destruction.

I don't see things as being in the gray area, particularly on this issue. You're either pro-death or you're pro-life. You're pro-abortion or you're anti-abortion. I have wondered frequently whether this whole issue about embryonic stem cell research was just a mechanism to try to give credence to the abortion industry, just to try to give credence to being able to take that right or at least the designation of personhood away from these human beings that are just one or two cells.

I introduced a bill called the Sanctity of Human Life Act that gives the right of personhood to one-cell human beings. And we have got to stop the killing in America. God commands in Proverbs to speak up to the speechless and the cause of those appointed to die. Congressman Smith for years and years and years has been coming to the floor and introducing legislation and speaking up for those innocent human beings that are killed through abortion, killed through embryonic stem cell research, and we have got to stop it. God cannot and will not continue to bless America while we're killing 4,000 babies every day through abortion. We must stop it and do everything that we can. And stopping embryonic stem cell research is also extremely important because these are human beings that God has created. He tells us in His Word that he opens the womb and He closes the womb. I believe in the depth of my heart as a physician that he allows those human beings to be formed, even in a petri dish, and we need to protect them. We need to protect the beginning of life; we need to protect the end of life.

When I graduated from medical school from the Medical College of Georgia in 1971, I made a pledge. It's an oath. It's called the Hippocratic oath. They don't give that in medical school, I don't think, much anymore, if ever, and the reason they don't is because of the abortion industry, because in that pledge, in that oath, it says I will not do an abortion. It also says I will do no harm. Embryonic stem cell research kills a human being. It does harm, and physicians who are doing that are breaking their Hippocratic oath if they take it seriously. It's not a legal document. It's just something that those of us who believe in doing no harm, who believe in rendering good to our patients and trying to preserve life, that's exactly what we try to do; so we must stop this heinous, and it is heinous, practice of destroying human life. No matter how good somebody paints the picture of this procedure, they paint a picture that has not been true, that it's going to bring about all these good cures, but it's an empty promise. And those who cling to it have been sold a bill of goods. They have been sold a bald-faced lie. It's a lie of a promise that has not shown to have any promise really. There are other research methods, other scientific methods, where we can put money, we can put effort to bring about the critical cures that we need to help people get out of their wheelchairs, to help cure cancer, to help cure diabetes, to help cure all these diseases that are absolutely critical for us to cure as a Nation, and we need to put our focus where it should be, and that's not on killing people. And that's what embryonic stem cell research does. It kills people. Put it on the things that will save people, things that will cure their disease, hopefully get people out of their wheelchairs and walking, help them to live their lives and be productive in society. I'm all for that, but I am totally against killing embryonic human beings just for the sake of medical experimentation. We must stop it, and I will do everything I can, and I join Congressman Smith in his efforts and I applaud his efforts over the years.

I just greatly appreciate all that you've done, my dear friend. And, CHRIS, I just want to join with you in everything that you do to try to stop this heinous practice of killing human beings through abortion, through embryonic stem cell research, and all the other things that you have so valiantly fought against all these years. I thank you.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. The reason that the pro-abortion people don't want ultrasound is because moms look at that baby and they say, ``That's a baby. That's not just a little glob of tissue. It's not some amorphous goop that's there in my womb. It's a baby.'' And it is. And before she ever knows that she has missed a period, I mean by the time she has missed a period and goes a little bit further, that baby already is developing neurological function. It's already developing a heartbeat. It's a human being.

And that's the thing about embryonic stem cell research goes back to the same thing that I mentioned and what you are talking about, and what we all talk about who are pro-life, that life begins when the sperm cell enters the cell wall of the oocyte, the egg. I call it spermatazoa, that's a medical term for the sperm cell, enters the cell wall of the egg, the oocyte.

It forms a one-cell human being that's genetically different from the mom. It's a separate human being. It has everything it needs except for just a good place to live, to become a human being and be a Member of this House of Representatives, to grow up to become a President of the United States. And it's a human being, nonetheless.

It's a zygote, which needs to have the right, under law, of personhood. And, in fact, in the Roe v. Wade decision, as you know, as all of us who are pro-life know, the Supreme Court justice who wrote the majority opinion, Justice Blackmun, said in his decision, that if we could ever define the beginning of life at conception--now I say ``fertilization'' because the word ``conception'' has become obscured, they want to obscure all this stuff.

But if that could ever be determined that that would vacate Roe v. Wade, we have got to protect these people. A society is going to be judged by other societies about how it cares for the most vulnerable in its society, the poor people, the old people and the very most vulnerable of the young people.

And these embryonic cells that have this big scientific name, like embryonic stem cell research, which sounds kind of lofty, but the bottom line is it kills human beings, separate human beings, and we must stop it and we will do everything we can. God cannot and will not continue to bless America while we are doing this.

We look through history how human beings have been experimented on. We see all the time, we hear complaints, particularly from the other side, even the pro-abortion people on the other side, look aghast of how we treat prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and just putting women's underwear on those folks' heads.

But, on the other hand, they are willing to kill a human being through abortion, through embryonic stem cell research, and it doesn't matter. The thing that really gets me, Congressman Smith, is they want to do it all the way up to the time that baby totally pops out of the birth canal. In fact, that's what the Freedom of Choice Act is all about. It should be called the Freedom to Kill Babies Act, not the Freedom of Choice Act.

In fact, let me just mention that too as we see that partial-birth abortion, late-term abortions are being promoted by this administration by many in this House. The only medical reason that procedure was ever developed is to guarantee a dead baby by the abortionists. There is no other medical reason, no other medical reason than to guarantee a dead baby.

The abortionists were faced with a problem. They were aborting babies and winding up with a live fetus. Now, ``fetus'' in Latin means ``baby.'' They were winding up with a live baby, and what are they going to do with this? They couldn't have that, so they had to develop those dilatation extraction procedures, partial-birth abortions to guarantee a dead baby.

So I applaud your efforts to try to help bring forth the truth, and that's what you have been doing for years, and I applaud you. And that's why I had to come down here to put in my 2 cents as a medical doctor, to tell the American public that the truth, that there is very little, if any, potential of scientific breakthroughs to treat all these awful diseases, which I want to treat, but there is a light. There is a potential, and it's through other methods that don't kill these babies.


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