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Monday, July 10, 2006

Public Funding of Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

A civilized society must protect its weakest members, not exploit their vulnerabilities. Embryonic stem cells are fertilized eggs; for those believing that life begins at conception, this means that a life has to end before these cells can be manipulated for research. This is unethical.

In the next two weeks, the U.S. Senate will take up the debate on stem cells and bioethics.

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research are hoping that the Senate will pass HR 810, a bill that would widen federal funding for more embryonic stem cell lines, while also encouraging more human embryo destruction. They will claim that embryonic stem cells hold a unique promise to treat patients for myriad diseases.

Yet the scientific evidence shows otherwise. The only real treatments for patients are coming from adult (which includes cord blood) stem cells. Thousands of people have already seen improvements for conditions including spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, heart damage, liver failure, and leukemia, all using adult and cord blood stem cells. The claims that embryonic stem cells have unique abilities are also falling flat.

Last week at the International Society for Stem Cell Research annual meeting, a Japanese researcher described how he could change ordinary skin cells into flexible stem cells, and other researchers have recently published details of numerous examples of adult stem cells being just as flexible as embryonic stem cells.

The Senate should reject efforts to waste taxpayer dollars on bad and unethical science. I wrote my Senators this email:
I strongly oppose H.R. 810 sponsored by Rep. Mike Castle (and I oppose the Senate version, S. 471, sponsored by Arlen Specter). I ask that you vote against H.R. 810.

Embryonic stem cell research is legal. H.R. 810 will overturn President Bush’s policy on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, by forcing taxpayers to pay for research that requires the destruction of human embryos. Adult stem cells are treating numerous diseases in animals and in humans. Embryonic stem cell research has had mixed results in animal studies, and has not treated one single disease in humans. H.R. 810 will create a financial incentive for researchers to create and kill human embryos for their stem cells, despite the fact that they have produced no cures.

Please oppose H.R. 810 and instead support funding of ethical alternatives, such as adult stem cell research.
I used the FRC Alert tool.

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