News Releases

Thursday, January 4, 2006

Isakson Introduces Legislation Calling
for Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Research Would Allow Creation of Stem Cell Lines Through a Process That Respects Life 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today introduced a bill that would allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research using stem cell lines created without destroying a potential life.   

"Stem cell research is one of the most important issues we will deal with in Congress, and I understand both the potential and promise that such research holds as well as its moral implications," Isakson said. "I firmly believe this legislation would allow this important research to move forward without compromising the high morals our nation hold so dear."

Isakson's legislation is based on research that is being conducted at the University of Georgia on three NIH-registered embryonic stem cell lines that were derived from embryos produced during the natural course of the in-vitro fertilization process but considered incapable of surviving in the womb or during the freezing process.

During the past year, Isakson worked with Senate leadership to draft a solution that would allow stem cell research to move forward without compromising moral standards. He sought to offer this compromise when the stem cell debate reached the Senate floor last year, but his proposal was not included in the final package of stem cell bills that were called up for a vote.  

A bill to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research passed the House and Senate last year, but was later vetoed by President Bush.  Isakson voted against that legislation, which would have allowed federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that allows for the potential destruction of viable embryos, because he feels it is unnecessary to federally fund research that potentially destroys human life when there is an alternative method of research that avoids the moral dilemma.

"Like many families in America, mine has been forever changed by terrible diseases that have robbed us of our loved ones all too soon. Stem cell research has produced results and offers hope for new and exciting life-sustaining and life-saving treatments for so many diseases believed to be untreatable until recently," Isakson said. "The American people want both parties to work together to break the political logjam and to pass responsible legislation on embryonic stem cell research - legislation that respects the sanctity of human life and takes into account our country's need to advance in this critical area of medical research."