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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Frist Watching

Senate Democrats have now been joined by Utah's Orrin Hatch in pushing for a vote on a bill passed by the House a year ago that would expand the number of federally funded embryonic stem cell lines by allowing the use of "surplus" human beings created at IVF clinics as their sources. So far, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has been good to his word. He has been dragging his feet because the bill lacks certain ethical provisions that he has outlined as part of a 10-point framework. Again, Sen. Frist loses claim as a self-defined man of principle (note that he already proved himself a man of expedience by embracing ESCR while claiming human life begins at conception) if we do not see these Top 5 items addressed before a vote on ESCR reaches the floor:
Ban Embryo Creation for Research;
Continue Funding Ban on Derivation [Of Stem Cells];
Ban Human Cloning;
Increase Adult Stem Cell Research Funding;*
Strengthen and Harmonize Fetal Tissue Research Restrictions.
*Note that we should also expect any ASCR bills to have the following prudent restrictions:
Require a Rigorous Informed Consent Process;
Limit the Number of Stem Cell Lines Available for Public Funding;
Establish a Strong Public Research Oversight System;
Require Ongoing, Independent Scientific and Ethical Review.

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