Jul 18 2006


Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) was disappointed with the passage of H.R. 810, the embryonic stem cell research bill to expand federal funding to new stem cell lines, and made the following statement explaining his opposition to the measure:


“As a prostate cancer survivor, I understand the importance of furthering lifesaving medical research through federal funding,” said Senator Shelby. “I have worked diligently with my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the Department of Health and Human Services to double funding for the National Institutes of Health over the past few years, and I am encouraged by the progress that has been made. Moreover, I have been supportive of federal funding for adult stem cell research and umbilical cord blood stem cell research – both of which are yielding results.”


“While scientists tell us that embryonic stem cell research holds great promise to cure diseases and heal injuries, it also comes at a great price. I am not a scientist, but I do know that embryonic stem cell research necessitates the destruction of human embryos. As such, I strongly believe that we must draw a moral and ethical line that respects and protects the dignity of human life – particularly when it comes to the lives of the most vulnerable and helpless members of the human race. In my judgment, the responsible path to take is to continue to channel taxpayer dollars to research that holds this line.”


“We must not deviate from our strong protection of human life. Crossing the boundary medically only calls into question our future protection for life. If we do not draw the line here today, where will the line be drawn?”


The Senate also approved two other stem cell research related bills which Senator Shelby supported. The first measure, sponsored by Sens. Brownback and Santorum, prohibits the solicitation or acceptance of tissue from fetuses developed purely for research purposes. The second bill, sponsored by Sens. Santorum and Specter, encourages the National Institutes of Health to research and develop ways to obtain stem cells with the same qualities as embryonic stem cells without harming or destroying human embryos.