Senate Approves Measure for Ethical Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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

Senate Approves Measure for Ethical Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — On the same day the Senate approved a measure forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, it also approved an alternative measure that would allow obtaining stem cells from human embryos in fertility clinics who have no chance of living if implanted into their mother’s womb.

Senators ultimately voted 70-28 for the measure.

Sponsors of the bill said it would allow federal investment in embryonic stem cell research that avoids the moral dilemma of destroying a potential life in the process.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, said his measure would allow "science to move forward in an ethical and moral way by permitting federal funding of scientific research that does not harm embryos."

He said it would fund research that does not harm embryos, such as deriving cells from amniotic fluid and placentas, and from embryos that have died naturally.

Isakson introduced the bill last month with Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, but some advocates of embryonic stem cell research opposed the bill even though it would likely help patients in the long-run.

They cast an ideological vote against the bill claiming that pro-life lawmakers were using it as "political cover" for voting against embryonic stem cell research funding.

"The only bill that really matters is S. 5, not S. 30," Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin said of the alternative measure.

Pro-life groups touted the bill as a more ethical approach to supporting stem cell research without the destruction of human life that embryonic stem cell research requires.

In an email to, Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of National Right to Life, said nothing in the bill would present a problem for pro-life advocates.