In a 63 – 34 vote, the Senate today passed S. 5, a bill that would allow – for the first time – federal funding of all forms of stem cell research utilizing donated human embryos that would otherwise be destroyed. Stem cell research has enormous potential in finding cures, remedies and treatments for debilitating and life-threatening injuries and illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, to name a few. The House passed a similar version of the bill in January, and George W. Bush has threatened once again to veto the bill.
“Stem cell research is a woman’s issue through and through,” said NOW President Kim Gandy. “Women are the majority of this country’s caregivers, and when family members experience tragic accidents, become ill or suffer chronic conditions, it often falls to women to care for them. The research supported by this bill could someday help alleviate the suffering as well as the mental and financial stress associated with many chronic and fatal diseases,” said Gandy.
“Today’s vote reflects the wishes of this country, and we thank the Senators who voted to expand this important research,” Gandy added. According to a recent poll, 62 percent of people in the U.S. approve of medical research using embryonic stem cells, and nearly 60 percent want more taxpayer money to be used for this promising line of research.Bush’s previous veto and threatened veto of this current bi-partisan proposal exposes his willingness to play to his radical right-wing base, regardless of the outcome.
“This president has ignored the health and welfare of women and their families for too long. Today’s vote is a sign that the climate is shifting around him,” said Gandy.”We must to continue to change the face of politics until preserving the health and well-being of women, girls and families is a top priority in this nation.”
Shortly after the U.S. Senate passed S. 5, they also passed stem cell legislation sponsored by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Norm Coleman, (R-Minn.) regarding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The misleadingly named, “Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research (HOPE) Act,” or S. 30, would permit federal funding scientific research on embryos that have ‘died naturally’. This legislation places severe restrictions on the ability to conduct research on what may prove to be the most promising stem cells.
“Clearly, this is another attempt to insert political control over science and medicine. We hope that the President will do the right thing and sign S. 5 and that the U.S. House of Representatives will do the right thing and not consider any legislation intended simply to undercut scientists’ ability advance research and lifesaving medical treatments,” said Gandy.