PENCE LEADS OFF DEBATE OPPOSING FEDERAL FUNDING OF EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH
Pence and Keim family participate in press conference
Washington, May 24 - (photo: Pence, joined by the Keim family of Berne, Indiana, voices opposition to federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.)
At the request of Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Congressman Mike Pence will lead off debate today in the U.S. House on a bill that would allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Pence's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow.
"I rise today in respectful opposition to the Castle-DeGette bill: A bill that authorizes the use of federal tax dollars to fund the destruction of human embryos for scientific research.
"As we begin this debate, I am confident that we will hear the supporters of this bill argue in the name of Ronald Reagan that this research is consistent with his long-held views about the sanctity of life. But it was Ronald Reagan who wrote, we cannot diminish the value of one category of human life-the unborn-without diminishing the value of all human life.'
"The supporters will also argue that this is a debate between science and ideology that destroying human embryos for research is necessary to cure a whole host of maladies from spinal cord injuries to Parkinson's.
"But the facts suggest otherwise. To date, embryonic stem cell research has not produced a single medical treatment, where ethical, adult stem cell research has produced some 67 medical miracles. Physicians on our side will make the case for the ethical alternative of adult stem cell research and Congress today will greatly expand funding in this area.
"But the debate over the legitimacy or potential of embryonic stem cells is actually not the point of this debate.
"We are here simply to decide whether Congress should take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund the destruction of human embryos for research.
"This debate is really not about whether embryonic stem cell research should be legal. Sadly, embryonic stem cell research is completely legal in this country and has been going on at universities and research facilities for years.
"The proponents of this legislation don't just want to be able to do embryonic research. They want me to pay for it and like 43 percent of the American people in a survey out today, I have a problem with that.
"You see, I believe that life begins at conception and that a human embryo is human life. I believe it is morally wrong to create human life to destroy it for research. And I believe it is morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans, who believe that human life is sacred, and use it to fund the destruction of human embryos for research.
"This debate, then, is not really about what an embryo is. This debate is about who we are as a nation. Not, will we respect the sanctity of human life but will we respect the deeply held moral beliefs of nearly half of the people of this nation who find the destruction of human embryos for scientific research to be morally wrong?
"Despite what may be uttered in this debate today, I say again: This debate is not about whether we should allow research that involves the destruction of human embryos. This debate is about who pays for it.
"And it is my fervent hope and prayer, as we stand at the crossroads between science and the sanctity of life, that we will choose life.
"This morning on Capitol Hill I was surrounded by dozens of snowflake babies,' children born from frozen embryos the throwaway' material we will hear about today. As I spoke over the cries and cooing of those little fragile lives, I couldn't help but recite the ancient text about the choice we face today: I have set before you life and earth, blessings and curses, now choose life so that you and your children may live' (Dueteronomy 30:19).
"Let us do as Americans have always done in the face of the frail and vulnerable. Let us choose life, reject federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, that we and those precious children may live."
You can click on this link for a clip of Congressman Pence debating Congresswoman DeGette last night on this issue.