As a prostate cancer survivor, I understand the importance of furthering lifesaving medical research through federal funding. I have worked diligently with my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, the Committee that oversees funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, to double funding for the National Institutes of Health over the past few years, and I am encouraged by the progress that has been made. I have also supported federal funding for adult stem cell research and umbilical cord blood stem cell research -- both of which are yielding results.
While I support the aforementioned forms of stem cell research, I do not support embryonic stem cell research that necessitates the destruction of human embryos. I have consistently supported, and will continue to support, efforts to preserve the lives of unborn children while also supporting research that may save lives. Recent scientific breakthroughs show great promise in allowing us to effectively pursue both of these goals by providing ways to obtain pluripotent stem cells without destroying embryos. I strongly believe that we must draw a moral and ethical line that respects and protects the dignity of human life -- particularly when it comes to the lives of the most vulnerable and helpless members of the human race. In my judgment, the responsible path to take is to continue channeling taxpayer dollars to research that holds this line.
It is imperative that we strike a balance between the necessity of scientific experimentation that helps to improve and preserve life, and that which may threaten to undermine the value and respect we have for life. As Congress continues to debate this issue, I will continue to support legislation that values and protects human life.