Monday, April 24, 2006

Time to Pass Stem-Cell Legislation

[This was posted earlier but has not been appearing due to Blogger issues ... I also posted it over at TMV, where there is an update. Apologies for the circumstances, hopefully things are resolved now. -- 1:47 p.m.]

Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports in the New York Times that Democratic candidates across the country are preparing campaign strategies which highlight their support for embryonic stem-cell research. The issue has "cropped up in Senate races in Maryland and Missouri, and in House races in California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin, especially in suburban swing districts," writes Stolberg.

The article highlights Missouri, where a constitutional amendment governing state funding of stem-cell research will be on the ballot this fall. Dem Senate candidate Claire McCaskill has been making political hay of her opponent's refusal to take a position on the amendment; Senator Jim Talent has thus far avoided stating his views on the matter, partly to avoid the wrath of (some) evangelical Christian groups which have threatened to sit out Election Day if Talent comes out in support of the amendment. Meanwhile the proposal is backed by Missouri's governor (Matt Blunt) as well as prominent centrist and former senator Jack Danforth, a minister.

With the anniversary of House passage of the Castle-DeGette bill approaching (one month from today, in fact), it is a good time for a reminder that the Senate must still act on this vital piece of legislation. It has the support of a majority of senators (likely more than the 60 needed to break a near-certain filibuster), and it deserves a debate and a vote. Of course Bill Frist, who supports the Specter-Harkin bill in the Senate, will continue to do everything in his power to keep the bill from the floor so he doesn't have to cast his vote in favor of it and rile up the right wing ... it's going to take some major pressure on him to get this bill scheduled. But it must be done.


At 9:36 PM, Blogger Dyre42 said...

Here's something I've always found odd about this debate. There are tons of stem cell lines that are available through totally ethical means via unused embryos at fertility clinics. The two parties focus on embryos obtained through abortion is nothing more than a divisive political ploy in my opinion.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Dyre, I quite agree - the Castle-DeGette bill (and its Specter-Harkin equivalent) are geared toward providing funding for research on exactly those unused cells you speak of.


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