More MS news articles for July 2001

Bennett Backs Funding Stem Cell Research

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Utah Sen. Bob Bennett said Friday he will support federal funding of some types of embryonic stem cell research.
The Republican joins about 70 other members of the Senate in urging President Bush to approve research using human embryos created in a laboratory through an in vitro fertilization process. The National Institutes of Health this week issued a report saying these cells offer hope of treating heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig's disease), cancer and diabetes.
The proposal is controversial because anti-abortion groups believe it is immoral to use these fertilized embryos for research.
Bennett said the issue has personal importance to him because one of his daughters used in vitro fertilization in an attempt to have additional children.
"From her experience, I have learned that all embryos are not 'created equal'," he said. "Some are healthy enough to have a chance of survival and some are not.
"Our daughter's doctors were able to determine, in advance of implantation, which embryos were healthy enough to survive. Those that were not were discarded. She believes, as do I, that it would be wonderful if these nonviable embryos could be used to give hope to others suffering from life-threatening diseases rather than cast aside as useless."
Bennett said federal funding should be restricted to those studies done under "careful ethical and procedural guidelines."
He endorsed the 10 principles for stem cell research offered Thursday by Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist, who is a Republican and a physician. Those policies include such things as a ban on using embryos created only for research and calls for a "rigorous informed consent process" so parents understand the potential uses of their embryos.
Bennett's announcement means that all five U.S. senators who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support federal funding for stem cell research.
The church has not taken a position on the idea, except to say "it merits cautious scrutiny."
Bush said Thursday his decision on whether to allow federal funding of this research will be made on moral grounds rather than public opinion. "This is way beyond politics," he said. "This is an issue that speaks to morality and science and the juxtaposition of both."
Bennett said there now appears to be enough votes in the Senate to override a presidential veto if Bush were to try to block such research.

The Frist principles are available on the Internet at: