On July 18th, 2006, the United States Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810) in a vote of 63-37. The House passed its version of the bill in a strongly bipartisan vote of 238-194 on May 24. 2005. Unfortunately, President Bush has indicated that he will veto this bill, which has the potential to save millions of lives. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act would open up stem cell lines for federally-funded research ensuring that embryos used to derive stem cells were originally created for fertility treatment purposes and are in excess of clinical need; that the individuals seeking fertility treatments for whom the embryos were created have determined that the embryos will not be implanted in a woman and will otherwise be discarded; and that the individuals for whom the embryos were created have provided written consent for embryo donation.
Take action and write an e-mail to your Senators by visiting our Legislative Action Center or reach Senators directly by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121
Reasons to Support the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (S. 471) include:
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Will Save Lives . Stem cell research has already provided, and holds tremendous promise to continue to provide, great progress for finding a cure or treatment for conditions including breast and prostate cancer, leukemia, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries and Huntington’s chorea. It also holds the potential to repair and regenerate human tissues, nerve cells, and skin cells. American medicine stands on the brink of being able to drastically improve the lives and futures of more than 128 million Americans who currently suffer from debilitating diseases and conditions.
Robust, Effective and Successful Embryonic Stem Cell Research Requires Additional Stem Cell Lines . On August 9, 2001, President Bush announced he would allow for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, but only on 60 existing germ lines (i.e., self-sustaining colonies of cells derived from destroyed embryos that scientists have already begun to study). Today, however, only 21-22 of the original 60 germ lines are viable for research, and this small number of germ lines makes impossible robust research that draws on a broad diversity of genetic material in order to benefit the genetic diversity of the American population.
This legislation ensures that Stem Cell Research is Conducted Ethically and Safely . The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act would open up stem cell lines for federally-funded research ensuring that embryos used to derive stem cells were originally created for fertility treatment purposes and are in excess of 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.
The Mandate for Stem Cell Research is Not About Reproductive Choice . Embryos utilized for research are not fertilized nor are they ever implanted in a woman for the purpose of reproduction. As Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has noted: “I believe it's the most pro-life position to be able to help the living, especially from fertilized eggs and in vitro fertilization clinics that are going to be discarded and would die anyway.”
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Enjoys Support from a Broad Spectrum of Faith Communities . The Jewish tradition teaches us that preserving life and promoting health are among the most precious of values. Nachmanides, a Medieval Torah and Talmud scholar, taught that the practice of healing is not merely a profession, it is a mitzvah, a righteous obligation, andour tradition requires that we use all available knowledge to heal the ill, and "when one delays in doing so, it is as if he has shed blood" (Shulchan Aruch, Yorei De`ah 336:1). Additionally, embryonic stem cell research enjoys support from the Episcopal Church (USA), the Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.
America Strongly Supports Stem Cell Research . An Opinion Research Corporation poll in March 2005 showed that Americans' support for embryonic stem cell research grew when they were given detailed information about the research. A February 2005 poll conducted by the Civil Society Institute showed that 70% of voters back bipartisan federal legislation to promote more embryonic stem cell research.