News Releases

Monday, July 17, 2006

Isakson Pushes Senate to Consider Another Alternative on Stem Cells:
Embryonic Stem Cell Research That Doesn't Destroy Human Life
Cites Embryonic Stem Cell Research at UGA As Proof That It's Possible to Pursue Hope of Science Without Crossing Moral Line

WASHINGTON - Citing the stem cell research being conducted at the University of Georgia, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today said there is a way to conduct embryonic stem cell research without destroying human life.

"As we go though this difficult, tenuous debate over a subject of immense importance to the American people, let's look for ways that we can be respectful of human life and open the doors for further development in science in embryonic stem cells. I would submit there are ways to do both," Isakson said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is asking the Senate to vote Tuesday on three stem cell bills: one that bans fetal farming; one that allows federal funding for stem cell research on non-human embryos; and one that was passed by the House, H.R.810, that would allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research on human embryos that could have been implanted in the womb.

Frist's package does not include a proposal offered by Isakson that would have allowed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research involving only non-viable embryos, meaning embryos that never could be implanted in a womb or become a fetus. Dr. Steve Stice of UGA is conducting research on three stem cells that were derived from non-viable embryos. Isakson has visited Stice's clinic three times at UGA to learn about the research.

"There is a way that we can invest in embryonic stem cell research without involving the destruction of an embryo that could be transferable to the womb and become a fetus," Isakson said. "There are many opportunities of hope out there that meet both the ethical and the moral as well as the scientific desire that I think the consensus of this body has."

Although stem cell research won't come up again this year, Isakson said the Senate must continue to address it and keep the United States in the forefront of such promising research.

"This debate won't be over," Isakson said. "I'm not smart enough to know what the end result of all this research will be, but I'm smart enough to know that we must continue to be a player in the research."