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Duckworth: Promise of Stem Cells Should Trump Ideology

Location: Lombard, IL

Duckworth: Promise of Stem Cells Should Trump Ideology

Sixth District Congressional Candidate Tammy Duckworth today joined families who would benefit from stem cell research at a neighborhood coffee gathering in Elmhurst. She discussed President Bush's promised veto of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act that passed in the U.S. Senate yesterday and released the following statement:

"I commend the members of the House and Senate who have worked on a bipartisan basis to provide hope to millions of Americans and their families through the passage of this bill.

"I lost my legs and am able to walk today with the help of prostheses. Stem cell research will not benefit me. But there are millions of Americans, some of them veterans, who cannot use their limbs because of spinal cord injuries. Stem cell research holds out hope that they could lead more normal lives.

"An ever-growing list of illnesses and conditions, from Alzheimer's to juvenile diabetes, could be treated and perhaps cured through increased funding for stem cell research. To unlock the true potential of this science, the President's restrictions on stem cell research must be lifted.

"There is a clear distinction between the two candidates for Congress on this issue. My opponent has led the fight against stem cell research in the legislature in Springfield. Not only does he oppose public funding of stem cell research; he would actually prohibit even privately funded research on ideological grounds. I do not believe that his extreme views represent the feelings of the vast majority of 6th District residents.

"In Congress, I would vote to override the President's promised veto and enable promising stem cell research to go forward with public support. My opponent would no doubt vote to uphold the President's veto. That's a clear choice for 6th District voters who believe, as I do, that hope and science should trump ideology when the lives of millions of Americans are on the line."

State Sen. Peter Roskam, has been ardent opponent of embryonic stem cell research. In May, 2004, he opposed legislation that would have established a state policy that research using embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells would be permitted, subject to review by an institutional review board.

This was followed by his vote in November 2004 against "The Ronald Reagan Biomedical Research Act." At the time, the Chicago Tribune described that bill as a largely symbolic measure supporting "privately-funded stem-cell research" (Tribune, 11/24/04).

In 2005, Roskam voiced opposition to a proposed state ballot initiative establishing the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute. This year, Roskam was among a group of state Senators who threatened to block passage of the entire state budget if it included any funding for stem cell research.

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