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Government Leaders on Abortion

   
Senator Jim Bunning
U.S. Senator
Jim Bunning

STATEMENT ON SENATE PASSAGE OF THE CHILD
CUSTODY PROTECTION ACT

 
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Bunning today issued the following statement in support of the Child Custody Protection Act, which passed the Senate by a vote of 65-34.

“In a day and age when a child needs a permission slip signed by a parent for a school field trip it is common sense for parents to be informed that their child is getting an abortion. I fully support the Child Custody Protection Act as it will protect the health and safety of these minors and recognize the rights of parents to be involved in the medical decisions of their children.”


STATEMENT ON STEM CELL RESEARCH
 

Washington, DC - Mr. President, I come to the floor today to speak on the three bills related to stem cell research.

I believe that one of these bills is wrong, but I feel that the other two are worthy pieces of legislation. Stem cell research is a controversial issue in the medical, scientific, and religious communities, as well as here in congress.

I am not opposed to stem cell research. However, I am 100 percent opposed to embryonic stem cell research. This is why I oppose H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005. This bill would remove all current protections against the destructive use of embryos for harvesting stem cells.

I firmly believe that it is wrong to take these sources of life and destroy them, even if it is for a benign purpose such as medical research. Current federal policy on stem cell research developed out of a compromise between proponents of research and those who endeavor to protect life at its earliest stages brokered by President Bush.

This is the first administration to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Today’s policy allows federal funds to be used for embryonic stem cell lines that were already in existence prior to August 9, 2001.

As an opponent of the destruction of human embryos, I felt that the Bush Administration’s decision to allow some embryonic stem cell research was misguided.

H.R. 810 goes even further than the current policy. It cancels the protection of the 2001 cut-off for research by allowing research of all embryonic stem cells created from in vitro fertility treatments. This legislation would move us in the wrong direction on this issue.

Some have said that these “excess” embryos that would be used for research would be destroyed anyway. However, I don’t think that this makes ethical sense. Just because these budding lives will not survive does not mean that we should ghoulishly conduct experiments on them.

I believe that there is a disconnect between what many Americans believe about this issue and what the facts are. For one, we are debating the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. We are not debating the legality of embryonic stem cell research. Any company or organization who wants to conduct or fund embryonic stem cell research may do so. I just don’t think that taxpayers should be forced to pay for it.

Also, there are different kinds of stem cells. Adult stem cells, such as those derived from cord blood tissue, do not require the destruction of a human embryo. Why walk down such a dangerous ethical path when there is no need to do so?

These adult stem cells have proven very effective in combating several serious conditions, such as diabetes and spinal cord injury, among others. This leads me to another point. We have seen the benefits that come from adult stem cell research. However, we have yet to see any tangible benefit from embryonic stem cell research.

Many scientists agree that these kinds of stem cells might be able to help fight disease someday, but it has yet to happen. We are talking about ending human life when no lives have been saved yet. Who knows how many human embryos we’ll have to destroy before any tangible progress is made?

That being said, I am pleased to see that the Senate is considering S. 2754, the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act. This bill could very well remove the most contentious issues of this debate.

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning that they could potentially have a wide variety of uses. It is this quality that drives the supporters of embryonic stem cell research to their position. However, great strides have been made in deriving pluripotent stem cells from sources that don’t destroy an embryo.

S. 2754 would authorize federal funds to conduct research on the creation of non-embryonic pluri-potent stem cells. If successful, we would be able to end this debate by finding a morally acceptable replacement for research involving human embryo destruction. I urge the Senate to adopt this measure.

The final bill that the Senate is debating on this subject is S. 3504, the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act. I fully support passage of this legislation. This bill would ban research from “fetal farms” where human embryos are implanted in a non-human uterus. It would also ban embryos from human pregnancies created specifically for research.

Most people would find these requirements to be self-evident. However, some groups have said that this is unnecessary, because researchers already follow ethical guidelines that forbid this. That may be the case, but I believe we should take these ethical guidelines and give them the force of law to prevent the possibility of such gruesome methods from ever being used by researchers. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill.

I do not like to see people with medical conditions suffer. However, I believe that many advocates of embryonic stem cell research are playing on the hopes and grief of many people whose lives are touched by illness.

We are at an ethical crossroads with this issue. We must stay true to our values of respecting life. It seems foolish to stubbornly barrel ahead with federal funding for embryonic stem cell research when with a small bit of patience we can put aside the moral and ethical concerns and proceed down a path that we all agree on.

In closing, I firmly believe that we cannot create life and then destroy it in order to save life.

I urge my colleagues to vote against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and to support S. 2754 and S. 3504.



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