Priests for Life - Political Responsibility
Political Responsibility Home

Register Voters


State Information

Church Documents
On Faithful Citizenship

Election Articles/Statements
America Will Not Reject Abortion Until America
Sees Abortion

Prayer Campaign

Take Action

Social Networking

Rachel's Vineyard,
A Ministry of Priests For Life

Silent No More Awareness Campaign, A Project
of Priests For Life

Clergy Resources


Government Leaders on Abortion

Congressman Chris Smith
Chris Smith

by Chris Smith

Despite efforts by some to quell reality, one of the best-kept secrets in medicine today is that umbilical-cord-blood stem cells and adult stem cells are curing people from terrible conditions and diseases.

These miracle treatments have the potential to cure millions and could quickly be made available to tens of thousands of patients in need with Senate passage of a bill that I authored, H.R. 2520 — the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 — which passed the House in May by a vote of 431-1.

The bill would greatly increase the number of cord-blood units available to treat patients and expand research. The goal is to reach a total inventory of 150,000 units, making matched stem cells available to treat more than 90 percent of patients, with a particular focus on providing genetic diversity.

The national program would promote stem-cell research by requiring participating cord-blood banks to donate units that are not suitable for transplant because of disease or size to researchers who are working on new applications for cord-blood stem cells.

For the first time ever, my bill would establish a nationwide stem-cell transplantation system. It would also reauthorize the national bone-marrow transplant system and combine both systems under a new program to provide an easy, single access point for information for doctors and patients.

Cord-blood stem cells are already treating patients. The New York Blood Center alone has treated thousands of patients with more than 65 diseases, including sickle-cell disease, leukemia and osteopetrosis. Cord blood has also been used to treat neurological conditions, debunking the idea that cord-blood cells can only treat blood disorders.

On the contrary, 14 separate studies have shown that adult and cord-blood stem cells possess the capability to transform into most tissue types in the body, including nerve cells, heart cells and insulin-secreting cells. This ability to transform offers the potential to yield a cure for spinal-cord injuries and diseases including Parkinson’s, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

There have been dramatic recent developments in this underreported field over the summer. In early August, Swedish researchers successfully used adult stem cells to generate functioning human brain cells — a procedure that has the potential to produce treatments for spinal-cord injuries and neurological damage and diseases. Two weeks ago, international researchers developed “embryonic-like” stem cells from umbilical-cord blood — a remarkable development that should end the practice of killing perfectly healthy human embryos to derive stem cells.

Yet as adult and cord-blood stem cells leap from one medical advancement to another, so much attention and coverage remains focused on embryonic stem cells — with little regard given to the fact that the process destroys human lives at their most vulnerable beginning stage. The notion that “leftover human embryos” — a grossly misleading and dehumanizing term — are just going to be “destroyed anyway” and poured down the drain is simply mythical in nature.

That could not have been any more evident than just a few months ago when President Bush welcomed “snowflake families” to the White House. These families adopted embryos — stored in frozen orphanages — left from other couples’ attempts to conceive through in vitro fertilization. They have since seen their adopted “embryos” grow into happy, healthy children.

These children are living examples of why not one taxpayer dollar should be used for the destruction of human embryos. Once the government not only permits but funds the destruction of human life in the name of science, all life is devalued.

In comparison to the progress achieved by researchers in adult and cord-blood stem cells, developments in the field of embryonic stem cells are disappointing. Despite years upon years of research in animal embryonic stem cells and nearly eight years in the human-embryonic variety, research in embryonic stem cells have often resulted in failure and a troubling tendency for these cells to form tumors. As experimental failures mount, predictions of eventual success have quietly changed from “years” to “decades.”

One might think that advances in adult and cord-blood stem cells would silence or — at minimum — refocus those insisting that taxpayer dollars be used to subsidize the killing of human embryos. Unfortunately, in typical fashion, some in government remain obsessed with investing in what could be a 50-year process (where failure remains a strong possibility) at a time when an ethically sound, moral alternative is likely to offer greater possibilities. The Senate needs to pass this noncontroversial bill now, helping patients in immediate need.


Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •