Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006 - Part 1

Location: Washington, DC

Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006


Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Oklahoma for his short, clear statement. I have some charts that will back him up.

I am delighted we are having this debate. It is time. We last debated this issue on the Senate floor in 1998. A lot has developed since then. As my colleague from Oklahoma pointed out, much of the science has passed by the embryonic stem cell and the need for embryonic stem cells, as the science has gone to adult stem cells and cord blood, and that is where the treatments are. I will show pictures of patients in that area and what is taking place.

I am delighted to be debating my colleagues. We have been debating this issue for some time. I think it is time we have a vote and look at this issue.

When I was a young Congressman first running for Congress in Chanute, KS, a young man approached me. He knew me and knew I was running for office. He said: Can you answer one question for me?

I said: I will try. I was anxious to be of help. I was anxious to prove I knew policy issues, I knew right from wrong, and I would be a good Congressman for him.

He asked me: Why is it we will fine somebody up to half a million dollars for destroying a bald eagle's egg, and yet we will fund the destruction of young humans? Why is it Federal law, both cases at that point in time, as far as the funding of abortion--I don't remember when that was changed, although now we are talking about the destruction of young human life again.

He said: Why is that?

I thought for a while. I thought: That is a good question. I don't know why that is.

I have a picture which may seem an odd place to start this debate, but it will tie in, and I will show how. I have a picture of a bald eagle's egg and a bald eagle. If I asked my 8-year-old children what happens if I destroy this egg, will I get this eagle? they will say: No, you don't get the eagle if you destroy the egg.

Why not? That egg is not an eagle.

I know, but the egg is the eagle because the eagle comes out of the egg.

Well, he doesn't look like him.

I know it is an eagle in the egg, and if you destroy the egg, you don't get the eagle. That is why we say in the Endangered Species Act, if you destroy this bald eagle's egg, you can have a maximum fine of up to half a million dollars.

I want to show some other eggs, if I can. These are human embryos, fertilized eggs. They are fertilized eggs such as this bald eagle's egg is. This one, Mother Teresa once was a human embryo. JFK was once a human embryo. Martin Luther King was once a human embryo. Ronald Reagan was once a human embryo.

Again, I think if we ask ourselves a simple question: If I destroy this, do I destroy this in the same way? Does it happen? If I destroy this human embryo--everybody on the Earth was a human embryo at some time--if I destroy that human embryo, do I somehow go ahead and get to be here anyway?

The answer, of course, again, if you ask my 8-year-old children, is: No, you don't get to be here because you destroyed the very start of your life, you destroyed the beginning of it, you destroyed that biological entity you were because the same genetic material that was there was in Ronald Reagan, and it was a unique set of genetic material, unique to him. The same for Martin Luther King, JFK, or Mother Teresa, and the billions of people around the world. We all started as a human embryo, and if you destroy the embryo, you destroy the person.

It is a unique set of genetic material right after the fertilization takes place. It doesn't matter where the fertilization takes place. It can take place in an IVF clinic or the old-fashioned way or it can take place by cloning. You still have this. You can have this, or you can destroy this and never get that. That is pretty direct, straightforward, nobody argues it. And we are not talking theology, as people try to drag this into the debate. We are talking basic biology. This is basic biology 101. If you destroy the embryo, you don't get the full-scale person. This is a genetic person, entity, special, unique, sacred, and so is this person.

My point one of this is, if we use taxpayers' dollars to fund the expansion of embryonic stem cell research, you have to inherently destroy young humans to do this, and do we want to do that? What was previously said in Dickey-Wicker was: No, we will not use taxpayers' dollars to destroy young human life. Here we would change that and say: Yes, we do; it is for a special purpose, a special reason; these are unique; these are something we are really going to get cures for. And that is my second point, cures.

The other side has talked about cures for a long period of time, and I want cures, and we are getting cures to take place. If we had taken the half a billion dollars, $500 million that we have invested in embryonic stem cell research in animals and humans and invested that instead in adult stem cell research and cord blood research, we would probably have a lot more people in clinical trials today. We would have a lot more people, I believe, being treated and alive today if we had taken the half a billion dollars that we put, in the last 5 years, into these areas of embryonic stem cell research and put them in adult stem cells and cord blood, we would have more people alive today, walking around, experiencing treatments and I believe cures. Let me show some faces of these people.

This is a beautiful lady, Jacki Rabon. She was involved in a traffic accident. She is a paraplegic. She had to go to Portugal to get a treatment with her own adult stem cells. They are olfactory stem cells from the base of the nose. They take them out, grow them, and put them back in the spinal cord injury area. She had no feeling, no mobility, nothing below the waist. She is now getting feeling in her hips through this treatment, adult stem cells, her own stem cells. She is getting feeling in the hips and walking with the use of braces, but she had to go to Portugal to do this. Why isn't this being done in America? Why aren't we having people treated here? We are not adequately funding this area. She wants to walk and I want her to walk and she could, but we are taking money and putting them into these speculative areas when we have cures that are working. We have to go to Portugal to get them.

Let's look at this next picture. This is an amazing story. This young man is named Ryan Schneider. I hosted him at a press conference 2 hours ago. He is 3 years old, a young man with cerebral palsy. His mother saved his cord blood.

At 2 years of age, she started noticing that he was not growing and that his arms were retracting. She took him to the doctors and they said: Yes, CP; he has CP. The mother was devastated, but she would not give up.

The morning after the diagnosis, she was lying in bed and she had this a-ha moment. She said: I saved his cord blood and let's use the cord blood and treat him with the cord blood because I think that can work and get him moving again.

She called all around the country and couldn't find anybody willing to do this procedure. She was pleading with these doctors: It is simply his own cord blood, taking his own cord blood and putting it back in; this isn't going to hurt him.

They said: We can't do it, not sure, we don't have FDA protocol.

Finally, she finds a researcher at Duke University, whom we had in to testify, who said: Yes, we will do it, and the worst thing that can happen is nothing because nothing will happen, it is his own cord blood; it is not going to hurt him.

She goes down to Duke University, takes his own cord blood, and they inject it in him. This is when he was 2. He was at a press conference today. There is no retraction taking place in the arms. He has full mobility. The thing he likes to do the most is bug his 8-year-old sister, which is what his mother said today: We like that, too, that he wants to do that. He has a word vocabulary that is normal for the age range. She said: Why isn't this an FDA-approved situation? Why are we not doing more research? Why aren't more people storing and saving cord blood so when this happens people can get cures?

Well, we haven't put enough funding into it. If we had put the half a billion more dollars into this area instead of embryonic, we might have a bunch of kids treated for CP who are not getting treated and be like Ryan running around and bugging his sister instead of having CP.

Here is a real interesting story, too, Keone Penn. We had him in to testify. He has sickle-cell anemia. He was dying. It is a real difficulty. Sickle cell is a very difficult problem to face, very painful problem for a child to face. He went through the New York Cord Blood Center, got treatment there, got a match. They had enough of a genetic match that it works for him. There are no indicators of sickle-cell anemia today. None. He isn't in Washington today, but we have had him in to testify.

We need a lot more cord blood stored. We need a lot more diversity of cord blood stored. We could use that half a billion dollars to store more cord blood and have more ethnic diversity so more people can get treated, so more people such as him will live, not die; so more people will not have to suffer what he went through. There could be real treatments with these dollars to help them.

No. 1, why are we destroying young human life?

We fine people for destroying life in other forms that we want to preserve, such as the bald eagle. No. 2, why would we take this money away from current areas where we can really treat people and especially in the areas where we are not getting any treatments, we are having all the problems with tumor formation, as Dr. COBURN noted. Why are we doing that? So that fewer people are getting treatments and people are having to go overseas to get these treatments? Why? And why would we ask to do more of it now? That is what this bill is basically asking to do: That we would change Federal law so you could destroy human life with Federal taxpayer dollars. No. 2, that we would use this money, and more of it, to fund speculative areas that even their set of scientists are saying are a minimum of a decade or two away from treatments which we are not getting, and we have taken away from Keone Penn, and treatments that he could get. Why? What sense does that make?

In 1943, C.S. Lewis delivered a series of lectures--this is the gentleman who did the Narnia series that has been made into a movie that a lot of young people have seen and read the Narnia series books, along with a lot of other pieces--a brilliant writer and a brave man. He did a lecture series called ``The Abolition Of Man'' in 1943, a very forward-looking series, and he noted at one point: ``If man chooses to treat himself as raw material, raw material he will be.'' It echoes themes of what we are hearing today. I don't give anybody over to a bad heart. I think everybody wants cures. I want cures. I see a way we can get treatments and hopefully cures. I want things done ethically. I don't give anybody over to a bad heart. But what we are doing is treating man as raw material--raw material to feed into a system that we hope will produce some results.

Unfortunately, it is not the first time we have in human history that we have treated people as raw material. We have frequently, in the past, subjected the weaker to the will of the stronger, and we have always regretted it afterwards. We shouldn't do that today. It shouldn't have happened then, and we don't need to do it now. We are talking about the embryo, the young human life.

I want to go through a couple of these points about what it is we are talking about. President Clinton's bioethics board defined young human life--and I want to give their definition for it. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission says that an embryo is: ``The developing organism from the time of fertilization''--the time of fertilization--``until significant differentiation has occurred, when the organism then becomes known as a fetus.'' So it is an embryo by that Presidential advisory bioethics analysis.

And here is a definition taken from a textbook, the Human Embryology textbook states:

Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed. The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote.

Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.

That isn't SAM BROWNBACK saying this, this is Human Embryology, Third Edition, saying that.

We have a distinct genetic entity once it is formed. It doesn't matter the location. It can be the old-fashioned way, as I noted at the outset, via the human body; in vitro fertilization; it can be what some refer to as somatic cell nuclear transfer, SCNT, or what most refer to as human cloning. It is a separate entity.

Pioneer stem cell researcher Jamie Thompson goes further. He says of human cloning: ``By any reasonable definition, you're creating an embryo. If you try to define it away, you're being disingenuous.'' Jamie Thompson. So we are talking about a human embryo.

Now, some would say it is not big enough to be human life. Here I want to make a point, on this chart, if I could. My colleagues made the point that the human embryo is about this big; very small at its beginning of life. Therefore, because it is small and is fragile and it can't do anything on its own, you know, it is really not human life. And we should be able to destroy it, for a good purpose. We are doing this for a good purpose. This isn't us being malicious; we are doing this for a good purpose. Well, the interesting thing about that, as I said at the outset--of course, when you destroy this, you never get the full human at any point in time. This is a separate genetic entity, even at this point in time. Also, the point was made to me one time that if the Big Bang theory is correct, then at one point in time, this is the size of the universe. Then it is all condensed down, this much matter is condensed down to that infinitesimal, small size before it blows. So I guess if you destroy it then, it doesn't become the universe, but that doesn't matter. It is too small to be seen as significant, and it can't do anything on its own. It sits in a frozen state, and because it can't take care of itself, because it can't grow, because it can't breathe in this situation, then it is not human--because it can't care for itself, because it is too fragile. It doesn't breathe. It doesn't do some of the things that we give over to the presence of life.

I want to give some examples, real quick, of young people--let's use this one. This is Isaiah Sullivan Royal, born to Hannah and Jed Royal. Hannah works in my office. Isaiah was born significantly premature. As you can see, he is a fighter. He is a tough little guy. He has been through a lot--more medical treatments than most people would have gone through in their lifetime already. Without human intervention, without help, he doesn't survive and make it. Yet he is a young human, and he is beautiful. Talk to his parents about him. So the idea that just because of smallness, you can't take care of yourself doesn't make you human, is completely false. Do we want to say that because you are young and small and weak, you are worthless or helpless or you are not human, which would be even worse? That just doesn't stand. That doesn't stand to reason. Yes, human life is fragile, but it is of infinite worth and it is of infinite value.

I want to now look at the overall issue of where we are with adult stem cell work. Dr. COBURN hit on this area, and I want to put some more points to it. We have, by peer review articles, 72 different areas, different human maladies being treated with adult stem cells or with cord blood--72. There was recently an article in one of the magazines saying: Well, we don't think the number is actually 72, it may be 68, it may be this or that.

We can wait a day or two and it will be up to 72 because there are more coming out in all of the areas. Some people are quibbling and saying: Well, these are not in FDA treatment trials. That is true, a number of them are not because we don't have sufficient funding. A half a billion dollars would really help us to move that along to get these in FDA treatment trials. These are in human clinical applications, where there are human beings treated for 72 different maladies by adult stem cells or cord blood--72, and for embryonic, we have zero.

We have known about embryonic stem cells in mice for 25 years. We have not been able to get them to work in this situation. They form tumors and they are rapid growing. With adult stem cells we know what they are about, we know what they are doing, and they are working, and people are being treated: 72 adult stem cell treatments to zero embryonic treatments. Again, you can quibble that they are not in FDA trials, not available to everybody. That is true. A lot of people are having to go overseas for treatments in some cases, and in some cases they are actually treatments that were developed in the United States, but because of FDA approval processes being long, they are having to get treatment overseas, even though the process was developed here.

I want to show you the specific areas, and this is--I am breaking the rules on charts because this one has--this one is too busy, but it is the only way I can get it all on one chart: 72 current human clinical applications using adult stem cells.

As I said, we could wait a week or 2 weeks, it will be more. Here are some of the amazing ones: Bladder diseases, they are developing, actually growing bladders with your own stem cells for people who have had bladder cancer or something of that nature, they are able to actually form a shell structure and the cells grow around it. The ones I like the best are in the heart areas, the cardiovascular. I had David Foege speaking at a press conference we had, he could hardly walk, advanced stroke, because of his heart problem, no infracturing rate. The physicians--I am sure I am butchering the words--I am a lawyer. I apologize for that. But he got this treatment, and he went first to a place in the United States, and they said: Look, you are just too advanced in your problematic stage. We are not going to treat you here because we want to treat early on and we only have so much money and we could use more, but we only have so much.

So the guy goes to Thailand for the treatment--it may have been developed in the United States. I am not certain that it was developed in the United States, but it is used here but only on people with great opportunity to make it through. He goes to Thailand, gets this treatment. His indicators of what happened to him in the stroke are diminishing. He is out walking. He spoke at the press conference that we had, and this man has got life again. Otherwise, he would, in all probability, be dead today. And how many people are like him, that because we have slowed the development of the adult field down by putting so many of our resources in the nonproductive embryonic area, and we are getting interesting science, but with adult we are talking about real people now. We are talking about real lives of individuals. How many more of them can get treated, and how many people can afford to fly to Bangkok to get this treatment? How many are able to do that? Yet they could go somewhere in the United States. I mean, my goodness, I hope we start thinking about the people involved in this and seeing the success in so many various and different fields. I think it is important we would do that.

Mr. President, I want to point out we will have, as my colleagues know, three votes that will be taking place. I do hope people will support the fetal farming ban. We shouldn't be growing young fetuses and using them for research, period. Some people are wanting to grow them further, cells differentiate and use it then. What we are talking about is an actual ban on that. I am hoping my colleagues will support that because we should not be doing that. I hope everybody would see that there is a huge moral dilemma with doing that. It is a bill that will be put forward. There is an alternative bill coming up with these pluripotent cells that I am hoping my colleagues can support.

The focal point is this, do we use taxpayer dollars, Federal taxpayer dollars, to destroy young human life for research purposes? I would hope it is seen that we could develop and put forward a very clear argument and rationale as to why you shouldn't do that. It is illegal. The Dickey-Wicker appropriations language, to start off with, that is the law we previously passed. It is immoral. We shouldn't use a weaker person for the benefit of a stronger person. And it is unnecessary. That is actually the beauty of it. We are presenting false choices to people. The choice that works has no ethical problem, and we can get broad-based support for it. Then, we can have more Jacki Rabons, Ryan Schneiders, and Keone Penns who are getting treatments now, and their lives are being saved, people staying in the United States for treatment rather than going overseas for the treatment, and we have got a lot of people being successfully treated and hopefully cured.

I may use that term ``cured'' too loosely because these are at the early stages. These are treatments that are showing enormous promise, but we can't--they are not, many of them are not in any sort of FDA-approved trial, so we can't use that term ``cure.'' But we have a lot of successes.

The other road that is being talked about is the use of human life as raw material, and if we do that, raw material we will be. We will cheapen life. And we cheapen life any time we use it for anything other than the sacredness that life is. I hope, at the end of the day, that would be the thing we grab onto. Clearly, embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary. We don't want to cheapen human life.

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, would the Senator yield for a question?

Mr. BROWNBACK. I am happy to yield.

Mr. COBURN. Is there any prohibition in the United States today for private money to fund any type of fetal research, embryonic stem cell research?

Mr. BROWNBACK. Reclaiming my time, no, there is not. There is no limitation today on State dollars, private dollars, foreign dollars, whatever you want to call it.

Mr. COBURN. As a matter of fact, California passed, I think, Proposition 71: $500 million over the next 10 years in fetal stem cell research?

Mr. BROWNBACK. I think actually the number is $3 billion.

Mr. COBURN. Three billion dollars. So there is no limitation at the present time.

Mr. BROWNBACK. None whatsoever.

Mr. COBURN. Is the Senator aware of the private investment dollars that are presently--the private investment dollars--not Government dollars, not State dollars--that are now going into embryonic stem cell research versus adult stem cell and germ line stem cell and cord blood, the ratio is about 100 to 1?

Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, reclaiming my time, it is, and it is a very interesting feature that where the private money is going, where people have to show production coming out of it, it is all going into the adult cord blood because people know the science. And that is why I want to conclude with what I started with.

In many respects, the science has passed this debate by. The science is saying: Do the adult, do the cord blood. The embryonic is not working, and you have enormous ethical problems with doing that, and we don't need to go that way. That is where the private dollars then are going, which I would hope my colleagues would look at as well.


Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I want to thank my colleague from Oklahoma. He is learned. He has spent the time to study these issues as a doctor. He has worked on these issues and he cares a great deal about them, and I appreciate his time and his focus on this issue.

I want to discuss a few additional things in response to the comments that have been made thus far. I want to get back to what we are talking about. We are talking about destroying young human life for research purposes. I will show a picture of that so people will get the idea--and I know people do--but it is important to remember we all started out looking like this. Even the Presiding Officer, as handsome as he is, looked like this at one point in time. Just a clump of cells--that was him.

This is a particular young person by the name of Hannah with whom I just met a few hours ago. This is when she was adopted as a frozen embryo, and this shows her development taking place. If you destroy her here, we don't get her here. That is the key. She was called a snowflake: an adopted frozen embryo.

I hope some people who are maybe watching or hear about this, if they have frozen human embryos, they consider putting them up for adoption because a number of people want to adopt them.

A couple of people adopted Hannah. They had fertility problems themselves, could not conceive. They used IVF, and so adopted her as a snowflake, as a frozen embryo. She was implanted, and now we have Hannah. Hannah is quite--I guess you would say out of the mouths of babes, children, comes great wisdom.

This is a chart she did last year when she was in Washington. When the House was considering legislation--this same legislation--she did this chart, this letter that kids write, my kids write--I love them. She said--this is Hannah--snowflake: We're kids, I love you. Then she draws three pictures here below. This is her smiling because she got adopted, and she is here. Here is another frozen embryo--these are embryos--that is sad because he is still sitting in a frozen state, and then here is one that, as she explains, is saying: What, are you going to kill me? This was her explanation to her mother who just gave this chart to me.

I hope people really would think about that. This is not just a clump of tissue. This is not just a group of a few cells. This is not a hair follicle. This is not a fingernail. This is Hannah. And, if nurtured, she grows to be just this beautiful child. We have a lot of them, frozen embryos, and I hope people will consider putting them up for adoption because there are a lot of people who want to adopt them.

My colleagues talked about cures. I want cures. I have talked a lot about cures here on the floor. I have talked about it for a lot of years. There are 72 clinical human trials using adult cord research. If we want the people Senator Feinstein and others talked about to get cures now, the certain way to do this is to not fund embryonic stem cell research. The people she is talking about are not going to be cured any time soon.

I want to read some quotes from scientists talking about cures from embryonic stem cell research. I want to lay my hands on this real quick so that people can hear what the scientists are saying about this particular area. Let me get to that in a second, as soon as we can pull that out from the notebook.

I want to hit a second point on this and then print this for the RECORD. Mr. President, I will ask unanimous consent that this be printed in the RECORD at the end of my statement.

Mr. President, this is a series of one-page--a cover article on stem cells, embryonic stem cells forming tumors. We have talked about this being a problem. This has been a problem on fetal tissue research, about 15 years ago. This stack is of the front pages of peer-reviewed articles citing embryonic stem cells creating tumors when implanted in other animals. Let me just read a few of these summations. This is just the front cover, and people can look up the whole article if they want.

More than 70 percent of the mice that received embryonic stem cells derived neuro processors--or precursor cells developed teratomas, 70 percent teratomas, tumors. That was a 2006 article.

Rats grafted with embryonic stem cells de-differentiated in vitro for 16 days developed severe teratomas--tumors. This is an article for publication, March of 2006. I am just reading the front page of these.

Here is another article, a 2005 article. We conclude that pluripotent cell types used in this study are unsuitable for achieving safe engraftment in a Guinea pig brain. Why? Creation of teratomas--tumors.

Unlimited self-renewal and high differentiated potential poses the risk of tumor induction after engraftment. This is just the front page of another article, December of 2004.

Here is another article. Conclusions: the cells will, however, form a tumor if they leak into an improper space such as the thoracic cavity. This is an article from 2003.

Then I have three more articles. These are just summations of peer-reviewed articles. They form tumors. That is the problem with embryonic stem cells.

So the Senators from California, Michigan, Iowa, and Pennsylvania and other places saying we want cures--I want cures. The research is saying embryonic stem cells form tumors. You put them into individuals, they form tumors. And while we hope at some point in time something positive happens, the problem is, they form tumors. This isn't working. So if we want treatments and cures, the answer isn't embryonic stem cells, it is adult stem cells, cord blood, where we don't have a tumor formation problem and where we are getting all of these initial successes that are taking place

We are also going to consider legislation--and I will come back to another point here--we are going to consider legislation on fetus farming. There are three bills that are up and one of the bills is to ban fetal farming--fetus farming. I want to speak on that bill. I am a cosponsor of the bill. It would prohibit a gruesome procedure known as fetus farming. I am hopeful this passes with broad bipartisan support.

What this prevents is growing young humans to a certain stage, then harvesting their parts like an organ donor--parts. You grow a cloned human to a certain stage, let the cells differentiate and then harvest the parts. The Fetus Farming Prohibition Act is intended to prevent the exploitation of women for the purpose of harvesting spare organs, bodies parts, and tissue. In an ideal world we wouldn't need this type of legislation, yet we have already seen four scientific papers published on proof of concept of where they clone an animal to harvest the tissue to put into another animal to see if there was a rejection issue. Such proof of concept or proof of principle is simply the first case you take before actually moving to doing it in humans. That is why we seek to ban this particular procedure.

Some of my colleagues are saying of course nobody would think about doing this. I remember at the outset of this debate 8 years ago, everybody said of course we are not going to clone human beings. That is not necessary; that is abhorrent, and we wouldn't do that. The same people who were saying that are now saying it is essential we clone human beings, so the distance from ``of course we would never'' to ``of course we must'' seems to only take a matter of years and that is why we are seeking to ban this particular area of using human beings. Human beings, as I said at the outset, are ends in themselves. They should not be used for somebody else's purposes. It is beneath human dignity to turn humans into commodities--that is organ factories--and that would be the case with fetus farming. That is what this act does; it prohibits it. I am hopeful my colleagues can strongly support this ban on fetal farming that is going to come before this body and I hope will pass the House and be sent to the President for signature.

I want to talk about an area that perhaps we all pretty easily fall into. That is, we get contacted by individuals who have a particular malady or disease or genetic problem and we tell them we want to give them a cure.

We do want to give them a cure. Everyone in this body wants to give them a cure. But then false hope can be held out or people can start down a road that doesn't produce. That is where we have been going. That is where we are going with the embryonic stem cells. This is a route into which we put half a billion Federal taxpayer dollars and it hasn't produced. It is time to move somewhere else. We have tried this route before.

I want to quote one of my colleagues on fetal tissue research. Some of my colleagues remember 10 or 15 years ago we were debating fetal tissue research. The promises sound strangely familiar, what people said.

There is substantial evidence that fetal tissue research will offer a new hope of prolonged life, greater quality of life, and perhaps one day even a cure for many of these diseases at a tremendous economic and social cost-saving to the country.

Then people frequently would list different areas that would be covered, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and the like.

We funded fetal tissue research. The reason I mentioned this is it is quite a bit like fetal farming. In fetal tissue research the fetus is aborted and then body parts harvested for use in somebody else, and that was going to cure everybody. We were going to get rid of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's and cancer and all these areas with great promise. Yet we saw what happened on the fetal tissue research.

Parkinson's research is set back by failure of fetal cell grants--disastrous side effect--absolutely devastating--it was tragic, catastrophic, it's a real nightmare. And we can't selectively turn it off.

That was what the researchers said when they took fetal tissue and put it in somebody to deal with Parkinson's disease. What we are trying to prohibit with the Fetal Farming Act is this from backing up even further, or doing it in a clone state, and inserting cancerous tumors into individuals. You can't selectively turn it off. That is why we want to ban this. That is why it is the wrong thing to do. It was the wrong thing to do then, using fetal tissue in that particular case.

It is also the wrong thing to promise people these cures when we look at the science of this and you know pretty likely this is not going to work--from all the scientific evidence. Let me read from some of the eminent scientists. By the way, the material I had printed for the RECORD on tumor formation, I believe every one of these scientists, at least most of the scientists published in these articles, are pro embryonic stem cell research. They support embryonic stem cell research. They want it to work. The problem is, tumor formation, just as we saw with fetal tissue research. The cell grows fast, undifferentiated, but it can get in the brain and in some cases formed fingernails or hair follicles instead of brain tissue.

What are some of the scientists who are strong embryonic stem cell supporters saying about the likelihood of human treatments using embryonic stem cells? Here I am quoting from people who support this research. Lord Winston, a British stem cell expert, has warned his colleagues over the political hype in support of human embryonic stem cells:

One of the problems is that in order to persuade the public that we must do this work, we often go rather too far in promising what we might achieve. This is a real issue for the scientists. am not entirely convinced that embryonic stem cells will, in my lifetime, and possibly anybody's lifetime for that matter, be holding quite the promise that we desperately hope they will.

This was in a lecture he gave in 2005. If we want to cure people, as different colleagues are talking about and giving different human examples, people examples--this is a clear route here, adult and cord blood. Put the money there if we want to cure people. If we want to do the scientific research, that is another thing, but if we want to cure people, we have an answer and it has no ethical problem to it. But we should not overhype the embryonic stem cells when the lead scientist say he thinks it is unlikely any time soon, if ever, to work, as I just quoted to you there.

Let me give another quote from the journal ``Science.'' It carried a piece last summer in which supporters of embryonic--destructive human embryonic stem cell research admitted:

It is necessary that prospective donors of human eggs recognize the large gap between research and therapy. This is particularly important in frontier areas of research where therapeutic impact in humans is unproven.

Also, it is nearly certain that the clinical benefits of the research are years or maybe decades away. This is a message that desperate families and patients will not want to hear.

If we are talking cures, we have an answer here. But it is not embryonic stem cell research. Otherwise we should not be talking about cures. We should be talking maybe about research on embryos, research on embryonic stem cells. We are interested in how they work, but we should not be talking cures because the cures are coming in the adult and cord blood route.


Mr. BROWNBACK. Fantastic. I have a picture I want to show, then, because this is a real hope. It is also a bit of a tragedy. Here is a gentleman I hosted at a hearing about Parkinson's disease. He suffers from Parkinson's disease. He had an adult stem cell treatment. We got him in to testify. It is adult stem cells put back in his own part of the brain, it is his own cells, so there is not a rejection problem. He was Parkinson's free for 5 years. We had trouble getting him in to testify. He was out doing African safaris and things. We couldn't get him to come in.

I say that because that is the beauty of it. The tragedy of it is some of the Parkinson's traits are coming back. He would love to have another treatment for Parkinson's with his own adult stem cells. Yet we have so few clinical trials going on, we are so short in the funding of this, that he is not able to get additional treatments or other Parkinson's patients aren't able to get this.

I ask my colleagues, if we want to treat, let's take the half a billion dollars and let's put it into research for a guy such as this, where we have a real promising start. He was Parkinson's free of things here for 5 years, and then it started coming back.

My final comment I have in the time I have left is: What a beautiful time. What an opportunity we have for people to live longer and better lives. This is a glorious time for us to make a step forward.

Senator Feinstein from California and I cochair the cancer caucus. We are setting an objective of ending deaths by cancer in 10 years. It is going to have to be aggressive to be able to do this. We are going to have to do some work on these adult and cord blood stem cell areas. What a beautiful time. Let's invest wisely. Let's not check our morals at the door--our values. Let's treat every single human as a sacred, beautiful child of the living God and we are going to be here 10 years from now with amazing stories of things that have happened, and a happy heart, and a clear conscience at the same time--that we did it, we did it the right way, that more people are alive today, not dead, we didn't sacrifice other human beings in the process, and people are cured. People with spinal cord injuries are walking. People with Parkinson's no longer have it.

We have people in whom this is taking place today. We didn't give them cancer in the process of trying to cure them--where we are having the troubles with the embryonic stem cells.

This can happen if we will go the right way, ban the fetal farming, not expand and use taxpayer dollars to fund destructive human embryonic research where you destroy a human, and look at these alternatives. It can and it will happen. And that--that is going to be a beautiful day.


Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top