Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) issued the following statement on draft guidelines released today by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding human embryonic stem cell research. Harkin and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) are the authors of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, legislation to lift the previous Administration's restrictions on stem cell research.
"I'm very pleased with the NIH draft guidelines. In every key respect, they match the terms of the legislation I have sponsored for the past four years. Most importantly, the guidelines will allow hundreds more stem cell lines to be eligible for federally funded research - a development that will enable our best scientists, for the first time, to fully pursue the promises of this exciting field. As in my bill, Federal funding will be allowed under these guidelines only on stem cell lines derived from embryos that were created through in vitro fertilization, but are no longer needed for reproduction, would otherwise be discarded, and are donated without any financial or other inducements. It is a policy that both respects human life and offers enormous hope to millions of Americans who are suffering from diseases and debilitating conditions such as cancer, Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes and spinal-cord injuries. I anxiously await the final approval of these guidelines in July."