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Public Statements

Stem Cell Research

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. JORDAN of Ohio. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me and appreciate his reference to Dr. Healy. I have her name in my notes as well.

But let me start by saying this. Look, we understand there is a debate in our culture over whose set of principles, whose set of values are going to prevail.

And that is, of course, one of those fundamental principles is respect for human life. It is why I so appreciate the Congressman from New Jersey and his leadership of the Pro-Life Caucus here in Congress, because he has had a steadfast adherence to that fundamental principle that all life is sacred and worthy of protection, that same principle that the Founders of this country understood when they wrote down the words that started this great experiment that we call America. And they said, ``We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.''

I always tell folks it's interesting to note the order the Founders placed the rights that they chose to mention, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. You can't pursue your goals and dreams, you can't go after those things that have meaning and significance to you and your family if you don't first have freedom. And you never have true freedom, true liberty, if government doesn't protect your most fundamental right, your right to life.

That's ultimately what this debate is about. When the President the other day issued his executive order, at the press event he talked about the adherence to science and picking science over politics.

I am sure that the chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, the gentleman from New Jersey and our friend from Texas who has joined us, know that the science is on our side. All the positive treatments, all the beneficial things that have happened to individuals and their families who love and care about them, in treating disease, have happened through the adult stem cell research, not the stem cell research that destroys human life.

And so we strongly support the use of science in developing the cures and the treatments that are going to help people. And it's interesting to note the ethical decision is the smart decision, and right now the evidence is all on our side.

The Congressman from New Jersey is exactly right when he talks about Dr. Healy. What's interesting is Dr. Healy and I did a radio show the other night, talked about this, she happens to be a Republican but also ran as a candidate for the United States Senate as a pro-abortion, pro-choice candidate. So she doesn't exactly share our belief on this issue completely, and yet she is willing to look at the science in an objective way and come down on the right side.

Two last things I would finish with here in my remarks, this decision scares me in a couple of ways, the first one is this, the slippery slope argument is real.

I mean, once you start down this road there are all kinds of problems that can accompany this that are harmful. My guess is the gentleman from New Jersey has talked about cloning and some of the other things that this can lead to.

I am sure your comments will be appropriate in that area. These are scary things. But, remember, politicians are good at saying one thing and not exactly following through on it. So even though people will tell us they support this, there are safeguards built in, we know it destroys life and we know that there are worse things that can come down the road.

Finally, I would say this, thus far, with this administration, we have seen a couple of pro-life policies overturned, the Mexico City policy with an executive order, and now the stem cell, the embryonic stem cell research policy.

We know, as we now enter the 2010 appropriations cycle, and what's going to happen with taxpayer dollars as we move forward relative to protecting life and the fact that millions of families, millions of Americans don't want their tax dollars used to promote something that they know is wrong. As we move into that debate, the precedent has been set now with these two decisions. We have got a fight on our hands. There are 22 what are commonly called pro-life riders that are part of the appropriation bills that we need to protect.

The one that most people understand and recognize is the Hyde amendment which says we are not going to use your tax dollars to perform the abortion procedure in this country. We are going to protect the use of your tax dollars.

So this idea that we are now moving in a direction that is going to use tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research sets a dangerous precedent. And it's something that we have to watch as we move forward, because, again, the vast majority of families in this country don't want their tax dollars used for this procedure.

So, again, I commend the gentlemen who are with us here tonight, particularly our chairman of the Pro-Life Caucus, Congressman Smith, for your steadfast adherence to the fundamental principle that life is precious, life is sacred and deserves the protection that the law should offer it.

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Thank you, Mr. Jordan, for your leadership. I think the American public would be pleased to know that you headed up an effort with a Member on the Democratic side, Heath Shuler, and 180 Members signed a letter to the leadership of the House, the Democratic leadership, asking that these pro-life riders--we do not want our funding, our tax dollars being used to facilitate to kill children.

Mr. JORDAN of Ohio. For just a second, and I appreciate the gentleman bringing that up, we did have a bipartisan press event where we announced 181 Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, signing a letter to the Speaker of the House, telling the Speaker, don't mess with this language. This protects human beings. This protects taxpayer dollars. This protects what the vast majority of Americans respect.

Don't change these procedures. Don't do what the Obama administration has already done twice, protect these procedures. And if you do mess with it, at least give us the rule so we can have a debate on the floor. At least allow us to play the game, have the debate, the full debate in front of the American people and have the vote.

You can't get 181 Members to sign anything around here. The fact that we got a bipartisan 181 Members is testimony to the work that the Pro-Life Caucus does and to the importance of this fundamental issue.

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