Abortion on Demand
Most Americans disagree with the position that abortion should remain available "for any reason." Since the U.S. Supreme Court decided legalized abortion-on-demand in 1973, more than 47 million abortions have occurred in our nation. Putting this number in context, the entire state of Louisiana had a little more than 4 million residents before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Research shows that approximately half of all abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions in past years. Those who profit by maintaining a high volume of abortions do little to inform women of the physical and psychological consequences that often follow.
As a heart surgeon, I dedicated myself to preserving life, and I oppose abortion. I'm a cosponsor of several pro-life bills pending before Congress, including the Right to Life Act (H.R. 618). I've also fought Democrat efforts to direct federal tax dollars towards abortion and deprive parents of informed consent when a minor child seeks an abortion. I'm also opposed to H.R. 1964. Proponents of this bill introduced it with the stated intention of overturning the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the ban on partial birth abortion - even though most Americans who are aware of the Court's decision support it.
Ethical Stem Cell Research
Americans depend on future medical breakthroughs that will save lives and relieve suffering. In 2001, the Bush Administration became the first to provide federal funds for research on human embryonic stem cells, while limiting these funds to existing stem cell lines so that federal tax dollars would not "support the further destruction of human life." Since 2001 the federal government has spent more than $130 million on this type of stem cell research and more than $2.5 billion on all forms of stem cell research.
I've heard from many constituents who argue that federal taxpayers should not be compelled to subsidize the destruction of nascent human life. I take these concerns seriously. Proponents of a bill that reached the House floor this year (S. 5) suggest that they're only talking about destroying human embryos that "will be discarded anyway" by fertility clinics. This claim is disingenuous. Recent research shows that less than 400,000 embryos exist in fertility clinics in the United States and "the vast majority of stored embryos (88.2 percent) are being held for family building," and only "2.2 percent are designated to be discarded."
Even if all of these embryos were immediately available, scientists indicate that their number is insufficient and mention problems arising from the age of these frozen embryos and tissue rejection. From a medical stand point, embryonic stem cells have yet to produce a single human treatment. Embryonic cells also produce tumors.
Biotech corporations point to human cloning as a solution, but researchers indicate that this inefficient process would require billions of human eggs and pose significant health risks for the millions of paid female donors. At the beginning of the year, supporters of S. 5 defeated a proposal that would ban federal funding for research on human embryonic stem cells from any cloned human.
More recently, these lawmakers rushed legislation to the House floor (H.R. 2560) that would ban reproductive cloning but permit the creation of cloned embryos or development of human embryo farms for research, which would require the destruction of nascent human life. Yet, national scientific surveys indicate that approximately eight out of ten Americans say "no" when asked whether scientists should "be allowed to use human cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be destroyed in medical research."
Fortunately, science continues to discover more promising lines of stem cell research that don't raise these concerns, and I will continue to support aggressive funding for this life-saving science. Adult stem cells have already been used to treat a growing number of human diseases. Scientists at Harvard and Wake Forest University recently reported their success using stem cells in amniotic fluid and the placenta. They explained that these stem cells "remain stable for years without forming tumors."
I'm pleased that the Administration issued an executive order in June of 2007 to expand federal funding for less controversial stem cell research.
I believe marriage is the most fundamental institution of our society, and it should not be redefined by activist judges. Since 1996, large majorities of voters have passed referendums that uphold the traditional definition of marriage. Forty five of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. Most Americans remain opposed to same-sex marriages and believe states should not be forced to recognize these unions as marriage. In spite of this fact, judges in at least four states have already ruled against state laws that protect the definition of marriage. Last year, nine other states faced similar lawsuits. I support a Constitutional amendment that would effectively prevent the further undermining of marriage by our nation's courts.