Bush Administration to Decide on Stem Cells by Summer

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 7, 01 (CWNews.com) - The Bush administration will decide by this summer whether to allow federally funded researchers to conduct stem-cell research using cells taken from aborted human embryos, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson on Tuesday.

Thompson was testifying before a Senate hearing and said independent reviews were being conducted to determine whether research using the cells taken from children manufactured and killed for the purpose can proceed in light of a federal law banning the use of federal funds for the manufacture of embryonic children for research purposes.

"I will be making a decision based upon those reviews," Thompson told a Senate hearing on budget and Medicare issues. Stem cells are the basic building blocks of the body, developing into any one of the dozens of different kinds of cells required by a human body. Scientists view it as the holy grail of medical research, saying it could possibly result in cures for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, or nerve damage.

The Clinton administration had allowed the National Institutes for Health to issue guidelines that allowed federally funded scientists to use stem cells procured by private researchers. But pro-life groups have pressured President George W. Bush to revoke the permission and place stem cells under the congressional ban.

Thompson said stem cell research offers great promise, but said federal law might require the use of cells taken from adults. "I would like to see the continuation of research being done, and there are many ways to do that," Thompson said. "I do not know whether you have to destroy an embryo in order to get the stem cells to do the research," he added. "Those are questions the scientists are going to have to answer, and that's why this review is so important."

CWN - Catholic World News
07. mars 2001