Reform Jewish Leader Marks One-Year Anniversary of House Passage of Stem Cell Legislation and Calls on Senator Frist for Further Action
Pelavin: One full year now has passed – and we are exactly where we were. We are not one single step closer even to letting the Senate vote on this legislation, which spells the difference between life and death for so many.
Contact: Emily Kane or Jen Gubitz
WASHINGTON DC, MAY 23, 2006 – In response to the one-year anniversary of the House of Representatives’ passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“It was one year ago tomorrow that the House of Representatives passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (H.R. 810). Inexplicably, and despite a commitment to do so, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has refused to bring this bill to the Senate floor. The stalling must end.
“One full year now has gone by since the House passed its bill – a year that could drastically have improved the lives and futures of as many as 100 million Americans who currently suffer from debilitating diseases and conditions.
“One full year now has passed – a year that was full of tremendous promise for finding a cure or treatment for conditions including breast cancer and prostate cancer, leukemia, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries, and Huntington’s chorea.
“One full year now has passed – and we are exactly where we were. We are not one single step closer even to letting the Senate vote on this legislation, which spells the difference between life and death for so many.
“S. 471, the legislation that Senator Frist has blocked from reaching the Senate floor, would open up stem cell lines for federally funded research while ensuring that embryos used to derive stem cells were created exclusively for fertility treatment purposes and exceed clinical need; that the individuals seeking fertility treatments for whom the embryos were created have determined that the embryos will not be implanted and will otherwise be discarded; and that the individuals for whom the embryos were created have provided written consent for embryo donation.
“We call on Majority Leader Frist to bring this bill to the Senate floor. The creation of stem cells through therapeutic cloning holds the potential to save millions of lives. Today, American medicine stands on the brink of major advances. Medical advances that could be achieved through embryonic stem cell research are simply too near to let this opportunity slip through our fingers.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the
Central Conference of American Rabbis,whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.