by Steven Ertelt
April 6, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life lawmakers and groups are not happy about a deal reached between House Republican leaders and sponsors of a bill that would overturn President Bush’s policy and use taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research.
The agreement, reached in late March, allows a vote on the bill in the next three months.
Yet pro-life Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican and leading pro-life lawmaker, tells The Hill newspaper, "Leadership made a bad deal, and a lot of people are angry about it."
"This vote only offers the left another opportunity to demagogue this issue by spreading outrageous mistruths," he added.
In another decision sure to upset pro-life advocates, House leaders have decided against drumming up votes from House Republicans against the bill. That leaves pro-life groups and members of Congress opposed to the controversial research to lobby undecided lawmakers on their own.
Pro-life organizations indicate they’ll do just that.
Jim Backlin, the vice president of legislative affairs of the Christian Coalition, tells The HIll that his group will begin gearing up for the battle in the next two to three weeks.
Meanwhile, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is worried that House and Senate leaders have not coordinated their efforts and pro-life groups will have to fight two concurrent battles — stem cell research in the House and judicial nominees in the Senate.
“If what I’m hearing is true, I’m very concerned," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “It makes no sense politically.”
Perkins told the Congressional newspaper that he planned to discuss the stem cell research bill deal with House Republican leaders but didn’t expect much from the meeting.
Reps. Mike Castle, a Delaware Republican and Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, have found 186 co-sponsors and a Senate version of the bill already has 58 members who have signed on.
While pro-life lawmakers could filibuster the bill in the House, there’s a chance the measures could pass and be sent to President Bush. Perkins said the president would likely veto the bill and Congress would be hard pressed to find enough votes to override it.
"The president has made his position very clear, and we support the president’s position," Perkins said.
While the president limited using tax dollars to fund embryonic stem cells, he authorized more than $190 million on adult stem cell research, which has already produced dozens of cures and treatments.
In comments to LifeNews.com, Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, made it clear that pro-life advocates who don’t want their money used to destroy human life need to speak up.
"Citizens who do not want their tax dollars used to pay for research that kills human embryos had better convey their views to their congressional representatives, because those lawmakers are hearing plenty from the other side," Johnson said.
ACTION: Contact your member of Congress at 202-224-3121 and express your opposition to the Castle-Degette bill. You can also take action by going to https://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=7087186