Research using stem cells derived from human embryos holds the potential for life-saving medical breakthroughs. As early as this week, the US Senate may consider legislation authorizing federal funding of research using embryonic stem cells remaining after in vitro fertilization. The bi-partisan Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, S. 471, would authorize federal funding of research using stem cells from donated embryos that would otherwise be discarded or stored indefinitely, and is consistent with Episcopal Church policy passed at the 2003 General Convention. S. 471, sponsored by Sens. Arlen Specter (Râ PA) and Tom Harkin (DâIA), is similar to House legislation that passed in May by a vote of 238-194 with 200 co-sponsors, including 13 Episcopal members of Congress.
In recent years, biomedical investigators have explored the possibility that the use of human stem cells might be effective in treating patients suffering from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and spinal cord injuries. The use of these cells might also provide an alternative to organ transplantation. Stem cell investigators have therefore begun to carry out research involving both adult human stem cells and early human embryonic stem cells. For a copy of the 2003 General Convention Resolution, CLICK HERE.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Contact your Senators and urge them to support S. 471 to authorize federal funding for embryonic stem cell research when it is brought to the floor. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR SENATOR.