Pro-Life Group: Congressional Bill Funding Human Embryo Research Coming Soon

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group: Congressional Bill Funding Human Embryo Research Coming Soon

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 31
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life group is warning members of Congress that they may soon face a vote on a bill that would result in funding the destruction of human embryos for research. National Right to Life is calling the bill a stem cell research "bait and switch" because of its duplicitous purpose.

President Barack Obama recently overturned President Bush’s limits on funding new embryonic stem cell research.

Part of the rationale for his move is that so-called "leftover" human embryos would be destroyed anyway so why not kill them for research purposes and fund the research with taxpayer dollars.

However, backers of embryonic stem cell research want to go further and topple a longstanding pro-life law called the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which prohibits the purposeful creation and destruction of human embryos for scientific study.

Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, is behind the bill that Right to Life is warning members could come up for a vote with little notice.

The NRLC letter says "there is a substantial chance that you will soon see an attempt to ram through the House of Representatives, on short notice, legislation that would authorize federal funding of research on human embryos created specifically to be used in research."

The DeGette embryo destruction bill would "open the door to federal funding of human cloning and human embryo farms," the pro-life group told

The letter explains that, contrary to assurances given to members of Congress in the past, the DeGette bill "will not limit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the use of human embryos who are donated by their parents after being ‘left over’ at in vitro fertilization clinics."

Instead, the measure would "empower NIH to use human embryos created especially to be used in research, including embryos created by human cloning," NRLC indicates.

National Right to Life also warns that the DeGette bill could be coupled with a vote in Congress on a measure or amendment it calls a "clone-and-kill provision" that backers would falsely label as a ban on human cloning but that would actually allow cloning for research purposes.

"The pro-cloning side hopes to smuggle through these radical policy changes on this authorization legislation, and then follow up by gutting or repealing the Dickey-Wicker provision on the Health and Human Services appropriations bill for FY 2010," NRLC’s letter says.

The pro-life group says the DeGette bill is better described as "a vote in favor of federal taxpayer support for human cloning and human embryo farms."

The debate on the DeGette bill may not have begun in Congress but leading media outlets are already calling on elected officials to pass it.

In a new editorial, the scientific magazine Nature calls for overturning the Dickey-Wicker law and chides Obama for not urging that Congress reverse it.

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