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The U.S. Congress and Stem Cell Research: Some Are Listening

Contact: Mark Bradford, National Catholic Bioethics Center, 215-877-2660

PHILADELPHIA, June 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed, for a second time, proposed legislation that would allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, would fund research that destroys human beings abandoned by their parents in fertility clinics. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a 247 to 176 vote. Fortunately, President Bush has indicated he will veto, for a second time, this assault on vulnerable human beings.

Also this week the House, with a vote of 204 to 213, failed to achieve even a majority in a required two-thirds vote on proposed legislation erroneously hailed as prohibiting human cloning. In fact, H.R. 2560, the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007 would endorse human cloning as long as the conceived embryo was not allowed to survive. The good news is that neither of these assaults on vulnerable human beings received the requisite votes to become law.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center, in its effort to provide the public with the latest information on cutting edge bioethical questions, had written to Congress expressing the Center's opposition to such legislation. (See NCBC letter to Members of the Senate regarding S5 and S30).  

The National Catholic Bioethics Center supports stem cell research and therapies that provide healing without causing the death of other vulnerable human beings in the process. There is a growing body of scientific knowledge on effective and morally acceptable methods to accomplish this end. (See NCBC Statement on Obtaining Embryonic Stem Cells without Destroying Embryos)

In President Bush's statement, indicating his intent to veto S. 5, he hailed recently published stem cell research that offers a possible method to achieve scientific aims that will be acceptable to all citizens. From the votes in Congress, it would appear that others also are listening not only to the scientific facts, but to the moral imperative: it is never justified to kill innocent human beings for the advancement of science.