Senator Frist, Stem Cell Advocate



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Perhaps sensing that he would never win the White House unless he did embryonic stem cells might have returned Terri Schiavo to her former self, Senator Frist has issued an about face on stem cell research. Although the story didn’t upstage the confessions of a rap vixen, even in the Washington Post, there is every evidence that this will shake up the vote on stem cells, leaving it to our President to make the veto happen. From the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation press release:

As you may have seen on this mornings news, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has announced his support for H.R. 810, a bill that would expand the current federal policy on embryonic stem cell research. Senator Frist now joins the nations top scientists and researchers, 80 Nobel Laureates, a majority of the American public, more than 200 top patient advocacy and medical research organizations, and a majority of the United States House of Representatives in supporting legislation to further this research that holds great promise for curing or treating a variety of diseases that currently afflict more than 100 Americans.

In a speech on the Senate floor today, Senator Frist declared his support for embryonic stem cell research by stating:

While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases. Therefore, I believe the presidents policy should be modified Cure today may be just a theory, a hope, a dream, but the promise is powerful enough that I believe this research deserves our increased energy and focus. Embryonic stem cell research must be supported. Its time for a modified policy the right policy for this moment in time.

H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, was passed by the House in May, and now has more than 40 cosponsors in the Senate. Its champions in the Senate, led by Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), had been pushing to bring H.R. 810 to the floor, but were not able to reach an agreement on the vote before the August recess that begins this weekend.

The Senate will be out of session through Labor Day, which means that your Senators will be back in their home state attending public events and holding town hall meetings. Please use this opportunity to explain why embryonic stem cell research is important to you, and personally ask your Senators to support H.R. 810 when the Senate returns in September.

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