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Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

STEM CELL RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - April 10, 2007)


Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the Isakson-Coleman stem cell research bill. For me, this issue is personal on many levels, and it weighs heavily on my heart, my mind, and my conscience. I have given great care in coming to my decision to be a cosponsor of this bill and have spent much time reflecting, thinking, and praying about making the right decision on this issue of stem cell research because it is a very controversial but yet a very forward-leaning issue.

Today we are debating the various types of research and what many view as the potential to cure diseases. There is no question that everyone here is supportive of medical research and, in particular, of stem cell research. However, there is still so much to be learned from science, so many discoveries yet to be made, and so much that we still do not know.

I am aware that there are very promising alternatives to embryonic stem cell research, such as deriving stem cells from umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. Those cells have demonstrated the capability of turning into most tissue types, thus helping to provide the basis for advanced research to find cures for diseases such as juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's disease, sickle cell anemia, and heart disease. Research from adult stem cells has saved thousands of lives, and funding for this research certainly should continue.

While I am familiar with the advancements made in the adult stem cell research, there is still a lack of scientific evidence to show that embryonic stem cell research yields the strong results we have from the adult stem cell lines. There is also the issue of whether taxpayer dollars should be used for research that many believe is morally wrong.

While the morality of embryonic stem cell research is an issue for many Americans, including myself, I also believe there is a constant need to continue working to advance science and medical research. As a country, it is important that we stay on the cutting edge of medical research and remain globally competitive, because the United States offers the best health care in the world.

This legislation, introduced by Senators ISAKSON and COLEMAN, will not only advance science, it will allow for embryonic research to take place using non-viable embryos. The cells in those embryos have naturally quit dividing and therefore would not be used for fertilization. Even if these embryos were frozen or saved, no practicing physician would ever attempt to implant them because the developmental stages have naturally stopped.

This legislation will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to extend Federal funding for research on embryonic stem cell lines only if the lines were derived without harming a viable embryo. I believe this approach is an effective way to provide for advancements in science and give them to those who are waiting for cures without compromising the value of life.

Many of us have personally benefitted or had family members who benefitted from the advancements made in modern medicine over the past 5, 10, or 20 years. I think we are all grateful for the progress that has been made. It is my most sincere hope that we continue to see monumental steps made in medical research--stem cell and otherwise--and that we find cures for those suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries.

Make no mistake about it, if you sincerely, as a Member of this body, want to see an advancement in the area of medical stem cell research, this is the alternative you must vote for because this is a bill, if it gets the required number of votes, which will go to the President's desk, and it is the bill which the President will sign, and we can move forward on the issue of embryonic stem cell research. I am proud to be a cosponsor and intend to vote for this legislation. I urge my colleagues to do the same.

I yield my unused time back to the manager of the bill.

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