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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - April 21, 2005)

Mr. KENNEDY. It is a privilege to join Senator Hatch, Senator Feinstein, Senator Specter and Senator Harkin in sponsoring the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Research Protection Act of 2005. This bipartisan proposal will outlaw human cloning and open the way to proper, ethical cures for our most feared diseases.

Using cloning to reproduce a child is improper and immoral--and our legislation will make it illegal. Medicine must advance hand in hand with ethics, and the legislation we introduce today will make certain that American research sets the gold standard for ethical oversight.

But it is wrong to deny the great potential of medical research using the remarkable new techniques of stem cell research, which can save lives by preventing, treating, and curing a wide range of severe diseases and disabilities.

We see the benefits of investment in biotechnology all around us. Fifty years ago last week, Jonas Salk announced the first polio vaccine. Imagine a world without that extraordinary discovery--where peoples everywhere lived in fear of the polio virus and the devastation it brings.

Thirty years ago, Congress was considering whether to ban research on recombinant DNA--the very foundation of biotechnology.

Time after time, we heard of the medical advances that this new field of research would bring. Then--as now--some dismissed this promise as a pipe dream and urged Congress to forbid it. We chose instead to vote for new hope and new cures. Today, countless Americans and persons throughout the world are already benefiting from the new treatments that biotechnology has brought. Why call a halt?

In the 1980s Congress made the right choice, again, by rejecting attempts to outlaw in vitro fertilization, a technique that has fulfilled the hopes and dreams of thousands of parents who would never have been able to have a child.

Our debate today is no different and Congress should do all it can to support lifesaving research, not prohibit it.

Other nations are more than willing to leave us behind. The potential of this research is so immense that some of our best scientists are already leaving America to pursue their dreams in research laboratories in other countries. We need to stop that exodus before it becomes a nightmare. Do we really want to wake up 10 years from now and hear that a former American scientist in another land has won the Nobel Prize in medicine for a landmark discovery in stem cell research?

The misguided fears of today can't be allowed to deny the cures of tomorrow. I commend my colleagues for their leadership on this important legislation, and I hope the Senate will act quickly to approve this urgently needed bill.

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