Embryonic Stem Cell Bill Up for Debate


The controversy over using embryonic stem cells for research once again takes center stage on Capitol Hill.

Supporters say it may one day cure chronic diseases.

This time they hope to get enough votes to override a veto from
President Bush.

The senate bill would roll back the government's five-year-old ban, and allow taxpayer-funded research using stem cells from human embryos. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says, "This bill will allow researchers to kill embryos and pay for that killing with American taxpayers' dollars."

"Take the handcuffs off, so they can now begin to do the research that will lead to miraculous cures," Democratic Senator Tom Harkin explains.

The bill would allow scientists to use frozen embryos left over from invitro fertilization.

Even some antiabortion lawmakers support it. Cathy Cleaver Ruse of the Family Research Council claims, "Because it is so controversial, it is not an appropriate subject for public funding,"

An alternate bill claims to avoid the ethical dilemma, by limiting research to embryos that died naturally. "It allows for research that would move the ball forward," Republican Senator Norm Coleman says.

Opponents argue noncontroversial adult stem cells work just as well.

A study released today finds type 1 diabetes patients using adult stem cells lived without insulin for up to three years. Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University explains, "I do think in medicine there is a revolution. And I do believe stem cells are leading that revolution."

But Caitlyn McEnery, who has lived with juvenile diabetes for 19 years hopes embryonic stem cells will one day lead to a cure.
"I think it would just give me the hope to have a normal quality of life. That's all that everyone's asking for."

The senate expects to vote on the issue this week.

The stem cell bill has enough votes to pass the Senate, but is four votes shy of overriding the veto promised from president bush.

It will be tough in the House where even if the bill passes, it may not survive a veto.


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