Sam Johnson statement on stem-cell research
Today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (3rd Dist-Texas) questioned President Barack Obama's decision to okay the practice of spending taxpayer dollars on embryonic stem cell research. Johnson argued that experts continue to make revolutionary medical breakthroughs while protecting human embryos at the same time.
Johnson supports stem cell research when it is from the umbilical cord, placental blood, and other adult stem cell sources. "Taxpayers should not have to fund the destruction of human life," said Johnson.
"Adult stem cells currently are being used to treat patients with many diseases such as juvenile diabetes, ovarian cancer, and leukemia. These are the avenues that hold the most promise for real treatments that help patients now. Scientists agree that this exciting medical research is making a tremendous difference and I firmly believe federal money should be devoted to perfecting this ethical and life-saving research," said Johnson.
Johnson pointed to a North Texas example as representative of the breakthroughs in stem cell research. Recently Readers Digest profiled Plano mom Emily Woods, who battled scleroderma with a stem cell transplant relying on her own stem cells. According to the publication, "Doctors agree that overall, Emily has had a tremendous turnaround, and three years after the transplant, there's still no sign of the disease returning."
In addition, acclaimed Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University, heralds the benefits of stem cells drawn from amniotic fluid and maintains that they can be used to develop muscle, bone, nerve and other cells in the laboratory.
Dr. Anthony Atala told Medical News Today, "Our hope is that these cells will provide a valuable resource for tissue repair and for engineered organs as well. It has been known for decades that both the placenta and amniotic fluid contain multiple progenitor cell types from the developing embryo, including fat, bone, and muscle. We asked the question, 'Is there a possibility that within this cell population we can capture true stem cells?' The answer is yes."
This is not the first time the new President has evoked the ire of pro-life advocates. After serving just a day in the Oval Office, President Obama rescinded the so-called Mexico City Policy, which prohibited federal taxpayers from subsidizing abortions internationally.
Also, last month the Obama Administration announced that it would review the new protections put in place by President Bush, called the "conscience clause." The regulation created legal safe haven for healthcare providers who choose not to participate in abortions and other services, like providing contraception, for personal ethical reasons. News reports indicate that the Administration will soon start a 30-day public comment period, after which they will eliminate the recently created protections for medical personnel and facilities.