[NetBehaviour] Congress' Top 10 Stem-Cell Flubs.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Jul 27 13:28:40 CEST 2006

Congress' Top 10 Stem-Cell Flubs.

Members of the U.S. Congress were liberal with the facts of stem-cell 
science this week -- their political leanings seemed not to matter much.

The Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (HR810), 
allowing federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research using embryos 
that would otherwise be discarded at fertility clinics. On Wednesday, 
President Bush promptly vetoed the bill as promised.

Stem-cell science is complicated and it's easy to imagine how tempting 
it must be for legislators to expect to get away with fabrications, 
misrepresentations and inaccuracies. But we're not going to let them. 
Here are the top 10 most egregious manipulations of the truth put forth 
in Congress on July 17 and 18 during stem-cell research discussions.

10. "There is no ban at the present time on research in this country on 
embryonic stem cells." -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)

Misleading. While it's technically true that no law bans embryonic 
stem-cell research, current administration policies have had much the 
same effect as a ban. Under an executive order, no federal funding can 
be used for research on embryonic stem-cell lines that were created 
after 9 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2001. That has had the practical result of 
stymieing U.S. embryonic stem-cell research, and is one of the main 
reasons HR810 was drafted in the first place.

9. "These 400,000 embryos will either be used for scientific research or 
thrown away." -- Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania)

Misleading. A 2002 study found at the time that 88 percent of the 
400,000 embryos in frozen storage at fertility clinics across the 
country were on hold for families who might want to have another baby. 
Only 11,000 embryos were specifically donated to research. Sen. 
Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) repeated the mistake: "I emphasize, 
again, these 400,000 embryos would otherwise be discarded."

8. "California passed, I think, Proposition 71: $500 million over the 
next 10 years in fetal stem-cell research." -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)


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