Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Correction Regarding the Isakson Stem Cell Bill

Last week I wrote in response to a Washington Times article about a bill (S. 30) sponsored by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). According to the paper, the White House was in support of the bill which would allow federal funding for research on embryos deemed incapable of surviving in the womb.

A few minutes ago I received an email from Stand to Reason's Melinda Penner who, after reading my post, asked Scott Klusendorf for his take on the proposed legislation. Scott forwarded the following comments from National Right to Life:

[On April 11, the Senate will also vote on a second bill, S. 30, sponsored by Senators Norm Coleman (R-Mn.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), that would encourage federal funding for research into new ways to obtain different kinds of stem cells suitable for research, without harming human embryos. The Coleman-Isakson bill is titled the “Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research Act,” or “HOPE Act.” NRLC has no objection to S. 30.]
The Family Research Council offers further clarification:

Misleading reports claim that S. 30 would fund research on human embryos if they are "nonviable." In fact, S. 30 would fund all stem cell research, including both adult stem cells and stem cells that are "embryonic-like" so long as they are not derived from embryos that are harmed, placed at risk, or destroyed. The bill allows the funding of research on stem cells taken from naturally dead embryos--but not if their death was hastened in any way. We are neutral on S. 30 because, while it holds the ethical line, we want to be sure its safeguards are observed in practice.
I'm relieved to learn that the Times report was in error. I regret circulating misinformation and am grateful to Melinda and Scott for their help in clarifying the issue. Melinda has encouraged Scott to offer further analysis and explanation of the bill at Life Training Institute's blog so keep an eye out.

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