For Immediate Release
February 5, 2007
Republicans oppose embryonic stem cell research
Would close the doors to cures for thousands suffering from painful, debilitating diseases
Today, every member of the House Republican Caucus passed an amendment that would oppose using public research funds in pursuit of cures for life threatening diseases through embryonic stem cell research.
Stem Cell research holds the potential for life-saving cures for millions of Americans including those suffering from Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and Juvenile Diabetes. Last year, House Republicans passed a measure that would have banned embryonic stem cell research at Virginia’s institutes of higher learning. The measure was removed in conference committee.
“The hope and opportunity that embryonic stem cell research provides should never be closed to thousands of Virginians suffering in silence,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Brian Moran said. “We all know someone who has been the victim of a life-threatening disease like Parkinson’s or Cancer. Now we have a real chance to cure the incurable and it’s morally wrong to close the door.”
Stem cell research has already provided, and holds tremendous promise to provide progress for finding a cure or treatment for conditions including breast and prostate cancer, leukemia, diabetes, Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimers’s disease, and spinal cord injuries. It also holds the potential to repair and regenerate human tissues, nerve cells, and skins cells.
“We should not close the doors of research to the colleges and universities across Virginia,” Delegate Jim Shuler said during a floor debate today. “Embryonic stem cell research could allow Virginia scientists at our colleges and universities to explore medical avenues that could cure some of the most painful and debilitating diseases,” Delegate Mark Sickles said. “By closing any avenue of scientific research, we are standing in the way of curing diseases.”
Even Republicans like former first lady like Nancy Reagan voiced support for embryonic stem cells research: “There are so many diseases that can be cured, or at least helped, that we can’t turn our backs on this. We’ve lost so much time already. I can’t bear to lose any more.” [Letter, Judiciary Committee hearing on March 19, 2003]
Embryonic stem cells are better equipped than adult stem cells for scientific research. Unlike adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells contain two salient features important to research: 1) they can divide to a great extent because their proliferative capacity is far greater than stem cells isolated from adults; and 2) they can form (virtually) any cell type. [Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation].