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HARKIN CALLS ON PRESIDENT TO SIGN STEM CELL RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT ACT, PROVIDE HOPE TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

June 8, 2007

HARKIN CALLS ON PRESIDENT TO SIGN STEM CELL RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT ACT, PROVIDE HOPE TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today released the following statement on the House of Representatives’ passage of S. 5, The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. Harkin has led efforts in the Senate to allow federal funds to be used for stem cell research that has the potential to treat or cure diseases affecting over 100 million Americans.

“I applaud the House for passing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The overwhelming majority of Americans – and their members of Congress – agree that it is time to take the shackles off of our federal researchers and allow them to move forward with some of the most exciting and promising research of modern times.

“There is no reason why the President should not sign this bill. This bill does not lift the ban on using federal funding to destroy embryos. It also includes stricter ethical requirements on stem cell research than those currently in place.

“Americans should know that under this bill, the only way a stem cell line could be eligible for federally funded research is if it were derived from an embryo that was otherwise going to be discarded, and the donors had provided written, informed consent. There are more than 400,000 embryos in the United States that are left over in fertility clinics, and almost all of those embryos will eventually be thrown away.

“The President now has a choice to make. He can sit back while these embryos are discarded, or he can make the moral and humane choice and allow our scientists to provide hope and cures to the millions of Americans suffering from Parkinson’s, cancer, juvenile diabetes and a host of other illnesses.