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Congressman Space Fights For Greater Stem Cell Research

Location: Washington, DC


Speaking candidly about how federal funding for stem cell research could dramatically improve the lives of many Americans who suffer from Parkinson's, diabetes, Alzheimer's and other diseases, Congressman Zack Space, of Ohio's 18th Congressional District, today urged the House of Representatives to pass a bill that could dramatically improve hundreds of thousands of Americans' lives.

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which Space sponsored, would expand the federal embryonic stem cell policy and create a mandatory ethical framework for conducting this research under the guidance of the National Institutes of Health. The issue has the support of a majority of Americans.

"We, as a Congress, must be resolute in making life better for our citizens," said Space on the House floor. "We are compelled to promote a society where the value of life reigns supreme, where compassion prevails and where light overcomes darkness.

"The measure before you does not destroy life - it potentially gives life to those who need it, and it affords purpose to embryos that are otherwise destined for destruction."

During his statement, Space specifically invoked the plight of his 16-year-old son who suffers from debilitating juvenile diabetes: "He is a great kid, typical in so many ways—he loves football, argues with his sister, and struggles with the awkward challenges of adolescence. For the last 10 years, he has waged a battle against this devastating disease, undergoing thousands of injections and blood tests. He has done so without complaint and without self-pity. As his parents, my wife and I are extraordinarily proud.

"As Nicholas approaches adulthood, our family fears what the future brings. For as difficult as this disease is to live with on a daily basis, most troubling of all is what potentially awaits someone who suffers from this disease: amputations, kidney disease, blindness, and even premature death."

A similar bill passed the House of Representatives last year with broad bipartisan support, but President Bush vetoed the bill. The House of Representatives failed to muster the 2/3rds vote necessary to override the veto. The President has again threatened a veto, and Space dared his colleagues to stand up to the attempt to undermine the effort: "I am addressing my remarks - not to the cameras, not to those who are inclined to vote in favor of this legislation - but to those of you who may not have the will to stand up to a Presidential veto."

The bill passed 253-174 and will now go to the Senate, where passage is also expected.

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