By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
With the prospects of a pro-life majority in the U.S. House and possibly the Senate appearing increasingly likely this fall, liberal lawmakers plan to push through legislation that will make taxpayer funded embryonic stem cell (ESC) research legal.
LifeNews.com is reporting that Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) is planning to urge her colleagues on the Hill to vote on a bill she introduced earlier this year that will codify President Barack Obama’s executive order that allowed the federal funding of ESC research.
Her urgency is due, in part, to a ruling this week by U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth who said the president’s order violated the Dickey-Wicker amendment which prohibits funding of any research that involves the destruction of human life. DeGette’s bill would repeal the Dickey-Wicker amendment.
DeGette, who is the chief architect of the bill along with Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE), called Lamberth’s ruling “deeply disappointing” and said it “once again delays groundbreaking treatment and even cures for the millions of patients and their families clinging to the hope of embryonic stem cell research.”
Because the current pro-abortion majorities in Congress are expected to shift dramatically to the pro-life position after the upcoming midterm elections, DeGette says she may push the bill much harder with the hopes of getting it to the floor soon after Congress convenes after the August recess.
DeGette says Lamberth’s ruling proves “why we must pass common-sense embryonic stem cell research legislation, placing these regulations into statute and once and for all, ensuring this critical life-saving research can be conducted for years to come, unimpeded by political whims or naysayers.”
LifeNews reports that a similiar bill passed in the House twice before, but was vetoed by President George W. Bush who said it “crossed a moral boundary.”
“If this bill were to become law, American taxpayers would for the first time in our history be compelled to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos,” he said at the time.
Even if the bill does make it to the floor this year, it may not receive the support it needs from nervous lawmakers in tough re-election bids who won’t want to cast any controversial votes before November.
But DeGette insists the bill is needed.
She told the Hill: “It’s necessary to establish it in statute because an executive order obviously can be rescinded. Researchers are loath to undertake research projects if they’re afraid they’ll be shut down.”
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