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Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

On June 20, 2007, the President once again ignored the will of the American people, of leading medical researchers, and of a bipartisan majority of the Congress by vetoing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.   His cruel veto says ‘no' to the hopes of million of families across America. 

On June 7, 2007, the House passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, S. 5, which would have increased the number of lines of stem cells that are eligible to be used in federally-funded research. The bill authorizes Health and Human Services (HHS) to support research involving embryonic stem cells meeting certain criteria, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from an embryo.

Current policy allows federal funds to be used for research only on those stem cell lines that existed when President Bush issued an executive order on August 9, 2001. The bill only authorizes the use of stem cell lines generated from embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics. The bill includes stronger ethical guidelines than the President's current policy.

This bill gives hope to 100 million Americans affected by debilitating or life-threatening diseases and their families, by greatly expanding scientists' access to embryonic stem cell lines. Embryonic stem cell research has enormous potential to unlock the doors to cures to numerous diseases.  According to scientists, including 80 Nobel Laureates, embryonic stem cell research has the potential to unlock the doors to treatments and cures to numerous diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and spinal cord injuries.

Watch Speaker Pelosi speak on the importance of this legislation:

 

 

This legislation would:

Increase the Number of Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Eligible for Federally-Funded Research
This bill would increase the number of embryonic stem cell lines that would be eligible to be used in federally-funded research.  Specifically, the bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support research involving embryonic stem cells meeting certain criteria, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from an embryo.  Current policy limits the use of federal funds for research only to those stem cell lines that existed when President Bush issued an executive order on August 9, 2001.  The bill only authorizes federal research funds for stem cell lines generated from embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics.

Impose Strict Ethical Guidelines
This legislation bill includes strict ethical guidelines, which currently do not exist under the Administration's current policy.  Specifically, the bill allows federal funding of embryonic stem cell research only if the following requirements have been met: 1) Embryos used to derive stem cells were originally created for fertility treatment purposes and are in excess of fertility treatment needs; 2) The individuals seeking fertility treatments for whom the embryos were created have determined that the embryos “would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded;” and 3) The individuals seeking fertility treatments must have “donated the embryos with written informed consent and without receiving any financial or other inducements to make the donation.” 

Require HHS to Report to Congress Annually on Federally-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research
This bill requires the HHS Secretary to submit an annual report to the appropriate committees of Congress on the embryonic stem cell research authorized under the bill that has been conducted during the previous fiscal year, including a description of how HHS has ensured that all federally-funded research complies with the bill's strict ethical guidelines.

Authorize Alternative Stem Cell Research
This bill contains the provisions of the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act, which authorize alternative stem cell research - i.e., ways to obtain stem cells that have the same properties as embryonic stem cells that do not involve destroying embryos.