Chris Dodd – August 23, 2006

Dodd tried to get it through. Stupid first veto. Stupid Bush.

Dear Mr. Ploski:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810/S. 471). I appreciate the opportunity to share my views with you on this important issue.

I understand the deep emotions that this debate has fostered. Throughout my career, I have maintained that the pursuit of scientific research that may benefit millions of Americans and their families was as important as ensuring that science did not outpace ethics. However, many of our nation’s best scientists, including many Nobel Laureates, believe that embryonic stem cell research has unique potential to ease human suffering due to the fact embryonic stem cells – unlike adult stem cells – can become any cell in the body. Embryonic stem cells can become heart cells, lung cells, brain cells, among others, and that property – called pluripotency – is unique to their embryonic state. It is my hope that stem cell research can one day be used to make a difference in the lives of literally millions and millions of Americans.

As you may know, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Michael Castle (R-DE) on February 15, 2005. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced companion legislation (S. 471) in the Senate on February 18, 2005. Under this legislation, the only embryonic stem cells that can be used for federally-funded research are those that were derived through embryos from in vitro fertilization clinics that were created for fertility treatment purposes and were donated for research with the written, informed consent of the individuals seeking that treatment. The legislation would specifically prohibit any financial or other inducements to make this donation. These embryos will never be implanted and would otherwise have been discarded. The ethical requirements contained in this bill are stronger than current law. For these reasons, among others, I am a cosponsor of this important legislation.

While the possible benefits of stem cell research are considerable, there is also a troubling potential for this technology to be misused. Cloning for the purpose of creating a human being is immoral and should be outlawed. I do not believe that our moral values can support the creation of human life in this manner. For this reason, I oppose cloning for the purpose of creating a human being.

H.R. 810 passed the House on May 24, 2005 by a vote of 238-194 and on July 18, 2006 the Senate passed H.R. 810 by a vote of 63-37. I voted in favor of this legislation. Unfortunately, President Bush vetoed this legislation on July 19, 2006. The House of Representatives failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to override a Presidential veto, 235-193. I believe President Bush’s veto was a mistake and his actions will further delay scientific progress that may one day bring relief to the millions of Americans suffering from deadly and debilitating diseases. As a senior member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I will keep your views in mind as the Senate continues its consideration of this complex issue in the future.

Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to stay in touch with me on this and other issues of importance, please visit my website at http://dodd.senate.gov and subscribe to receive my regular e-mail issue alerts. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can help you in any way.

Sincerely,

CHRISTOPHER J. DODD
United States Senator

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