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Public Statements

Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


STEM CELL THERAPEUTIC AND RESEARCH ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - May 24, 2005)

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the issue of government funding of embryonic stem cell research is one of the most divisive issues facing the country. While I sympathize with those who see embryonic stem cell research as providing a path to a cure for the dreadful diseases that have stricken so many Americans, I strongly object to forcing those Americans who believe embryonic stem cell research is immoral to subsidize such research with their tax dollars.

The main question that should concern Congress today is does the United States Government have the constitutional authority to fund any form of stem cell research. The clear answer to that question is no. A proper constitutional position would reject federal funding for stem cell research, while allowing the individual states and private citizens to decide whether to permit, ban, or fund this research. Therefore, I will vote against H.R. 810.

Unfortunately, many opponents of embryonic stem cell research are disregarding the Constitution by supporting H.R. 2520, an "acceptable" alternative that funds umbilical-cord stem cell research. While this approach is much less objectionable than funding embryonic stem cell research, it is still unconstitutional. Therefore, I must also oppose H.R. 2520.

Federal funding of medical research guarantees the politicization of decisions about what types of research for what diseases will be funded. Thus, scarce resources will be allocated according to who has the most effective lobby rather than allocated on the basis of need or even likely success. Federal funding will also cause researchers to neglect potential treatments and cures that do not qualify for federal funds. Ironically, an example of this process may be found in H.R. 2520; some research indicates that adult stem cells may be as useful or more useful to medical science than either embryonic or umbilical cord stem cells. In fact, the supporters of embryonic stem cell research may have a point when they question the effectiveness of umbilical cord stem cells for medical purposes. Yet, if H.R. 2520 becomes law, researchers will have an incentive to turn away from adult stem cell research in order to receive federal funds for umbilical cord stem cell research!

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that H.R. 810 violates basic constitutional principles by forcing taxpayers to subsidize embryonic stem cell research. However, H.R. 2520 also exceeds Congress's constitutional authority and may even retard effective adult stem cell research. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to vote against both H.R. 810 and H.R. 2520.

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