Lawmakers Still Want Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Lawmakers Still Want Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 21,

Washington, DC ( — Though two teams of scientists have shown that human life need not be destroyed to obtain embryonic stem cells for research, Congressional lawmakers are not giving up on their fight to force taxpayers to fund it. And the scientists involved in the new research say they shouldn’t give up.

As reported Tuesday, teams of scientists from Wisconsin and Japan have created a new method of turning adult stem cells back into embryonic ones.

Previously, scientists had to kill days-old unborn children to obtain their embryonic stem cells for studies.

Though President Bush and pro-life groups have called on Congress to quit trying to force taxpayers to fund destructive research, lawmakers say they won’t back down.

"It’s terribly wrong for any politician to be trying to pick and choose one type of ethical research over another," Rep. Diana DeGette, a key sponsor of past funding bills, told AP. "That issue isn’t going away."

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, a leading sponsor of measures there, agreed.

"Scientists may yet find that embryonic stem cells are more powerful," he said. "We need to continue to pursue all alternatives as we search for treatments for diabetes."

Ironically, the very scientists involved in the new research method are on their side.

James Thomson, who headed the Wisconsin team, told MSNBC, "Well, what I hope will not happen is that everybody says, ‘See? We don’t have to do embryonic stem cell research now.’"

"In our research, we actually used human embryonic stem cells as part of the screening process. So the research itself on human embryonic stem cells led to the next finding about pluripotent cells," he added.

But the new research has only reaffirmed President Bush’s resolve to not make taxpayers fund research that destroys human life.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said she was "very pleased” by the announcement.

"The president believes medical problems can be solved without compromising either the high aims of science or the sanctity of human life,” a White House statement said.