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NCHLA Action Center

Oppose Funding of Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research! Support Cures We Can All Live With

10/12/2010


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In 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order overturning the limits President Bush had placed on government funding of destructive embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Subsequently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published guidelines implementing the Obama directive. Federal taxpayer dollars could now fund research on human embryonic stem cells that are derived by killing human embryos acquired from fertility clinics.

On August 23, Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the government from implementing its ESCR guidelines. The judge argued that the guidelines violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which was first passed by Congress in 1996. As the Judge noted, the amendment was meant “to prohibit the expenditure of federal funds on ‘research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed.’” The judge rejected the government’s distinction between funding the destruction of embryos with private funds and funding subsequent research with federal funds.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. bishops’ conference, called the injunction “a welcome victory for common sense and sound medical ethics.” See: usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-152.shtml.

On March 10, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act (H.R. 4808). On September 13, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) introduced the companion bill in the Senate
(S. 3766). The Dickey-Wicker Amendment notwithstanding, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services “shall conduct and support” human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos deemed “in excess” at fertility clinics. These bills prohibit the funding of human cloning, but the term human cloning is narrowly defined as “the implantation of the product” of the cloning process “into a uterus or the functional equivalent of a uterus.”

Action on these two bills could occur after the November elections. Congress returns Nov. 15.

A new public opinion poll shows that 47% of Americans oppose federal funding of stem cell research that involves destroying human embryos, while only 38% support such funding. Asked whether scientists should be allowed to clone human embryos to be destroyed in medical research, 76% responded “no,” 12% responded “yes.” For more information on this poll and other ESCR matters, see the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities’ stem cell page at: www.usccb.org/stemcellcampaign.

ACTION: Through the NCHLA Grassroots Action Center, please send messages to your two U.S. Senators and Representative opposing H.R. 4808 and and S. 3766. Please click here.

Messages to Congress can also be sent by U.S. Mail, FAX letter, or phone. Call the Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call Members’ local offices. Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.

MESSAGE: “Please oppose H.R. 4808/S.3766. Do not use my tax dollars to promote destructive embryonic stem cell research or any form of human cloning. Instead please support adult stem cell research, which is ethically sound, harms no one, and is already producing treatments.”

WHEN: Action on H.R. 4808 and S. 3766 could occur after the November elections. Please act today!

Updated 10/12/10




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