Senate May Vote on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Bill This Week

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 13, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate May Vote on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Bill This Week Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 13
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — The Senate may vote this week on a bill that would force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research. Pro-life groups are urging their members to call and email senators in case that happens, although they say a date certain for a vote has yes to be established by Democratic leaders.

The House has already voted on its version of the bill, which it approved on a 253-174 vote in January.

However, President Bush has promised to veto the measure again because he doesn’t want taxpayer funds to pay for research that involves the destruction of human life. The House vote was well short of the two-thirds needed to override his veto.

In 2006, the House failed to override President Bush’s veto of an identical bill.

President Bush first put his stem cell research policy in effect in August 2001. It allows federal funding of embryonic stem cell research done before that point and his administration has also spent hundreds of millions of dollars on adult stem cells.

The Congressional bills, H.R. 3 in the House and S. 5 in the Senate, would rescind the policy so human embryos, initially created for reproduction, can be killed for their stem cells if their parents give consent.

In his 2006 veto message President Bush stated: “If this bill would have become law, American taxpayers would, for the first time in our history, be compelled to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos. And I’m not going to allow it. I have made it clear to Congress that I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line.”

The president has already said he would veto the new measure as well.

In January, one of Great Britain’s top researchers said that embryonic stem cell research is back to square one thanks to the impact of a scandal last year involving Hwang Woo-suk. Hwang was a South Korean scientist who falsely claimed to have made great strides in the research.

Hwang and his team wrote papers saying they had been able to use human cloning techniques to create human embryos.

The success would have provided scientists with more embryonic stem cells to use in studies, though it would mean the destruction of human life.

The papers also claimed Hwang’s team was able to clone patient-specific embryonic stem cells that would overcome the rejection issues where a patient’s immune system refuses to accept the cells for treatment.

Both claims turned out to be false and it has been a painful reality check for the controversial science.

"In terms of the science, it has really taken us back to square one," Dr. Stephen Minger, a stem cell researcher from King College London, told the BBC. "Nobody has got close to doing what Dr. Hwang claimed to have done."

Minger fears that embryonic stem cell science won’t any major progress for years to come because there is a lack of human eggs to use in research and obtaining them from women poses numerous ethical problems.

ACTION: Please contact your two U.S. Senators and urge opposition to S. 5. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or call your elected officials’ local offices. For Senators’ full contact information, see:

Related web sites:
Stem Cell info –