No Need to Sacrifice Life in Order to Research Cures

Yesterday’s news that scientists have isolated stem cells in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women that can grow into a variety of tissue and be used to treat diseases should sound a loud warning to the new Democratic majority. On Thursday, the Democrats will bring up H.R. 3, legislation to fund embryonic stem cell research that destroys human embryos. What won’t they bring up for debate? Any alternatives – including amniotic fluid research. In fact, the Democrats have made it clear that on Thursday, the only stem cell research we’ll be funding is the kind that kills embryos. So what about adult stem cells, cord blood stem cells, and these amniotic stem cells? The Democrats simply aren’t interested.

H.R. 3 (DeGette-Castle) is morally unacceptable. Here in America, we don’t take organs from death row prisoners because they are ‘going to die anyway.’ Neither should we steal the life of a fertilization clinic embryo just because there’s a chance it won’t be used to impregnate a woman. Before we use taxpayer dollars for the destruction of human life, we should take a lesson from yesterday’s scientific findings: we don’t have to sacrifice life in order to research ways to save it.

Today, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and I introduced H.R. 322, an ethical alternative to the DeGette-Castle legislation. H.R. 322 authorizes federal funding for research to derive pluripotent stem cells (long-lived, adaptable stem cells) without creating or destroying human embryos. Unfortunately, the Democrat leadership is not willing to discuss stem cell alternatives to H.R. 3, preferring to spend taxpayer dollars on destructive research rather than on finding cures in an ethically responsible manner.

But we don’t have to choose between life and science. The Bartlett-Gingrey legislation allows Congress to side-step the moral questions surrounding embryonic stem cell research. Last Congress, all 100 senators voted to pass similar legislation, and 273 House members supported the alternative. President Bush has signaled his willingness to sign this ethical stem cell bill into law.

In fact, the only thing standing between the American people and federal funding for promising, ethical stem cell research is the Democrat leadership and its unwillingness to have a fair and open debate.