Pro-Life Group Says Senators Misleading on Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group Says Senators Misleading on Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life group says senators are misleading the American people on the facts of stem cell research during the debate on a Senate bill that would force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research that includes the destruction of human life.

Tom McClusky, Vice President for Government Affairs at the Family Research Council, told that "While Senators Harkin and Specter might have the Democratic Leadership on their side — science and truth are not."

McClusky points to three claims proponents of the bill make that are false.

During the debate, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa claimed that S. 5 has tighter ethical guidelines than the Bush embryonic stem cell policy.

"Apparently, Senator Harkin thinks using taxpayers’ money to encourage the destruction of human life is more ethical than not destroying human embryos," McClusky said in response. "President Bush’s policy does not allow funding for research that destroys human embryos, nor create an incentive to do so. S. 5 is written precisely to do so at taxpayer expense."

Senator Harkin claims this debate is about hope and helping people who have devastating illness.

"Senator Harkin is correct. It is about treating patients, which is why we support using adult stem cells which have already treated over 70 diseases in real human patients," McClusky told

He points to people like Doug Rice who was treated for heart disease, Carol Franz who was treated for multiple myeloma, and Steve Sprague who was treated for Leukemia.

"Embryonic stem cells have failed to treat anyone of a disease and have had mixed results in animals, and tend to form tumors," McClusky said.

Finally, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania claims that the 400,000 frozen embryos available for research will be thrown out. He says they won’t be used to produce life.

But, according to a Rand study, of the 400,000 frozen embryos, only 2.8% are designated for research, and Rand estimates that if all these embryos were used, they could only generate 275 new stem cell lines at most

"S. 5 will not generate as many embryonic stem cell lines as proponents claim," McClusky concludes. "Researchers will have to create human embryos for the sole purpose of destructive research, or attempt to clone human embryos for research."

The Senate is expected to vote on the funding bill and the alternative measure this afternoon.