Pro-Life Groups Respond to Embryonic Stem Cell Research Vote

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Respond to Embryonic Stem Cell Research Vote Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 25, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life groups responded to Tuesday’s House vote in favor of legislation to use taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research with disappointment. They thanked President Bush for promising to veto the bill and vowed to lobby the Senate to vote against it.

"Embryonic stem-cell research has been unconscionably hyped, by scientists, politicians and advocacy groups shamelessly manipulating patients and their families into believing their only hope lies in cannibalizing the young," said Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America.

Wright noted the vote came the same day as families of children adopted when they were frozen embryos pleaded with Congress and stood with the President not to use tax dollars to kill innocent human life.

"Under this bill, human embryos would be killed by the very act of harvesting their stem cells for government-funded research," National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson explained.

Meanwhile, Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican and a leading pro-life lawmaker, said he would do everything possible to stop the advance of the bill in the Senate.

"I have conveyed to Senate leadership that we must do everything we can procedurally to stop unethical embryonic stem cell research in the Senate and I will work to do just that," he said.

"We don’t need destructive research when efficacious and ethical alternatives exist. In fact, after 20 years of work in mice, human embryonic stem cell research has not resulted in a single human application, and results in mice are, at best, very modest," Brownback explained.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, a pro-life Catholic group, said, "Those voting in favor of this bill have ignored a basic scientific fact — that a human embryo is a human being — and a basic moral fact — that the end does not justify the means."

"Thank God we have a President ready to veto this misguided legislation, should it ever reach his desk," Pavone added.

CWA’s Wright said HR 810, which allows funding for scientists to destroy human embryos frozen at fertility clinics for their stem cells, will never yield enough cells for research.

Over 90 percent of frozen embryos are waiting to be used by their parents or donated to other couples for adoption — their parents do not want them used in experiments, Wright explained.

Johnson said that fact concerned him and he worries that advocates of embryonic stem cell research will follow the lead of South Korean scientists and turn to human cloning to produce more embryonic stem cells.

"The biotechnology industry will not be satisfied with exploiting only embryos donated by parents — in fact, they are already seeking to create human embryos by cloning, for the specific purpose of harvesting their parts for research," Johnson explained.

Unless Congress acts promptly to ban human cloning, as many other nations have already done, biotech labs will establish what President Bush in the past has called ‘human embryo farms,’" Johnson added.

Senator Brownback is the lead Senate sponsor of a measure that would ban all forms of human cloning — for both reproductive and research purposes. The House has approved his measure, but the Senate has never voted on it.