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Public Statements

The Protection Of Life

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FORTENBERRY. First, let me thank the gentleman from New Jersey for conducting this very, very important discussion.

Madam Speaker, over the past several years, I have received scores of letters from my constituents that reflect widespread national confusion about stem cell research. Let me take a few moments to cut through the fog on this important issue.

There are two types of stem cell research often

confused in our public debate. The first, which I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support, is the type of stem cell research which uses cells derived from sources such as cord blood, skin, and bone marrow, commonly known as adult stem cell research. This is good science, helping to save American lives and providing real treatment options now.

The American people deserve to know that adult stem cell science is progressing at a staggering pace, showcasing over 70 successful clinical treatment models for conditions ranging from heart disease to Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, sickle cell anemia, stroke damage, leukemia, chronic liver disease, and many, many more. The empirical evidence is sound, and it really is eye opening, giving hope to those who suffer from these debilitating conditions.

Madam Speaker, the American people also deserve to know that there is a clear distinction between adult stem cell science and embryonic stem cell science. Between hope and promise for cures on the one hand and misleading, misguided efforts to funnel their tax dollars to bail out research companies, research enterprises, that thrive on the destruction of nascent human beings, embryos, who are no less human than Members of this august legislative body.

Widely touted and vigorously promoted nationwide as a potential cure for many of the same conditions that adult stem cell research may treat, embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of unborn human persons to derive stem cells for research. We know that embryonic human life is still human life. The marvels of modern science leave no room for confusion on this important point. Moreover, embryonic stem cell research has shown no clinical success to date. It represents a degradation of human life that is wrong. Science that harms human beings, no matter how small they are, no matter how vulnerable they are or easily disposable they are, is always wrong.

With so many proven ethical alternatives, embryonic stem cell research presents an unnecessary moral dilemma for persons of goodwill. It siphons limited Federal funds away from adult stem cell research that is now saving lives. And American taxpayers, who have recently been asked to shoulder an unprecedented deficit that will burden generations to come, should not be forced to pay for it. Adult stem cell research works, saves lives, and avoids the ethically divisive issue of the destruction of innocent and unborn human life.

So, again, with that I want to thank the gentleman from New Jersey for conducting this important dialogue.


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