Sunday, May 22, 2005

House Vote on ESCR on Tuesday

Next Tuesday the House of Representatives will vote on HR 810. What is HR 810? HR 810 is a bill sponsored by Catholic Rep Mike Castle (R-DE). This bill would require federal funding of research that depends on the killing of human embryos in order to harvest their stem cells. The embryos would be those "donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, [and that] were created for the purposes of fertility treatment," after authorization by the parents. The bill is intended to loosen President Bush's restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

The bill has 202 sponsors. Sixty-three of them are Catholic representatives. You can see which Catholic representatives are sponsoring HR 810 here. They are only sixteen votes short of an absolute majority. It is unfortunate that the GOP leadership in the House is allowing this bill to be brought to the floor. The reality is that it is. But there is still a chance that it can be defeated and the president thankfully has promised to veto the bill. We can urge members to oppose HR 810 and encourage the president to maintain his promise to veto. Here are suggested key points of support as provided by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC):

* Each human being begins as a human embryo. Tell your representatives that you agree with President Bush that the government should not fund research that requires the killing of human embryos.

* Stem cells can be obtained without killing human embryos, from umbilical cord blood and from various types of adult tissue. Already, humans with at least 58 different disease conditions have received therapeutic benefit from treatment with such "adult stem cells." In contrast, embryonic stem cells have not been tested in humans at all because of the dangers, including frequent formation of tumors. Tell your representatives that you favor "ethical adult stem cell research, not research that requires killing human embryos."

* Those who favor federal funding of research that kills human embryos sometimes claim that these embryos "will be discarded anyway," but this need not be so. Many human embryos have been adopted while still embryos, or simply donated by their biological parents to other infertile couples, and are happy children today. Tell your representatives that you favor "human embryo adoption, not dissection."

*I would add the Catholic teachings on life as put forth by Paul VI in Humanae Vitae.

For additional information on ethical and unethical forms of stem cell research, see www.stemcellresearch.org and the NRLC Human Embryos webpage.

To communicate quickly and effectively with your congressional representatives, click on the latest Action Alert that deals with HR 810 at the NRLC Legislative Action Center. This resource will help you easily send messages to your representative in the House in opposition to federal funding of embryo-killing research. You will see a link that allows you to easily check to see whether your representative or senators have cosponsored HR 810. You will also see suggested e-mail messages (which are easy to modify) to send to lawmakers, with different messages for sponsors and nonsponsors of the bill.

You can also call the U. S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or call your Representative's local office. The message is simple. Ask your representative to "Please vote 'no' on H.R. 810. Destroying human embryos for research purposes is immoral and unnecessary. Please support adult stem cell research."

To contact the president email him at president@whitehouse.gov or send a fax to 202-456-2461 or call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111.

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