Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Human Cloning: This Too Shall Pass?

After an emotional debate on the House floor, Democrats succeeded in passing H.R. 3 to expand taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. With 18 more votes in favor of the bill than it had in 2006, the measure was approved 253-174, still dozens shy of the majority needed to override the president's promised veto. In the two years since their last debate, pro-lifers lost at least three incumbents on the issue: Reps. Dave Reichert (R- WA), Dale Kildee (D-MI) and, Tim Holden (D-PA), who all voted against the bill in 2005 and in favor of it in 2007. As promised, FRC carefully monitored the new "pro-life" Democrats and we applaud Reps. Brad Ellsworth (IN), Charlie Wilson (OH), and Heath Schuler (NC), who kicked off their term by upholding a pledge to protect innocent human life. Unfortunately their Pennsylvania colleagues, Reps. Chris Carney (D) and Jason Altmire (D), failed the first test of their pro-life leanings. Rep. Joe Barton (R- TX) took the floor in one last plea for funding science on "leftover embryos," and said, "The choice is medical research or medical waste." Barton, who saw the value in saving his own child's cord blood, should know that the real waste is diverting millions of dollars away from treatments using adult stem cells to an ethical wasteland that has yielded little but frustration.

The frustration isn't because embryo destruction is restricted. It's not. For years, embryonic stem cell research has been privately funded and still hasn't produced human treatments, despite the millions of dollars spent. Apart from these concerns, we know that a vote for embryonic research would encourage the cloning of human embryos. Republicans who feared such a loophole offered a motion to send the bill back to committee with language that would forbid the government from funding research that entails human cloning. It failed. Thankfully, the president will again veto the bill, and the House will have the votes to sustain it. As we continue to strategize on stem cells and other issues, we urge you to attend FRC's Blogs for Life, the second annual conference of pro-lifers on January 22nd in Washington, D.C. Speakers include Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru, and Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo. Although the conference is for bloggers, it is a free event open to anyone interested in using new media resources to advance the pro-life agenda.

(Family Research Council: Tony Perkins' Washington Update; Jan. 12, 2007)