U.S. Representative Roscoe Bartlett
6th District, Maryland
Friday, July 29, 2005

Stem Cell Research: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Says, "It is Morally Reprehensible and Not Necessary to Destroy Human Embryos to Provide Raw Fodder for Scientific Research. However, It Will Be A Loss for the U.S. if President Bush Doesn’t Have an Embryonic Stem-Cell Alternative on His Desk to Sign When He Vetoes H.R. 810."

In the first of a series of events on July 29 related to stem cell research, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett said, “I was very disappointed in the position announced by Senator Frist. I believe that it is morally reprehensible and not necessary to destroy human embryos to provide raw fodder for scientific research. However, it will be a loss for the United States if President Bush does not have an embryonic stem-cell research bill to sign when he vetoes HR 810 – and he will veto it. That could cost years in federal contributions to embryonic stem cell research.” Congressman Bartlett made the remarks at a news conference after the announcement by Senator Frist.

Congressman Bartlett then led an effort by 13 House Republicans who signed a letter to President Bush urging him "to take advantage of a unique opportunity to advance embryonic stem cell research without creating or harming embryos by urging support and passage of H.R. 3144, the “Respect for Life Pluripotent Stem Cell Act of 2005.” Instead of dividing our nation over this issue, this bill will bridge the gap between the ethical and scientific dilemmas other stem cell legislation presents." A copy of the letter is attached.

Later in the day, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced a companion, or identical, bill to H.R. 3144 in the Senate.

Finally, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett discussed his bill, H.R. 3144, and the science that supports embryonic stem cell research without harming embryos in a one-hour Special Order Speech to the U.S. House of Representatives. The C-SPAN toll-free number for copies of floor speeches is 1-877-662-7726.

A copy of the Special Order can be downloaded from the Internet using the Thomas Search Engine. http://www.Thomas.loc.gov. Search the Congressional Record by key word "stem cell," House Member alpha scroll "Roscoe G. Bartlett" and date "on" "07/29/2005."

Congressman Bartlett has introduced H.R. 3144, a bill developed with technical assistance from the Administration that would authorize $15 million in Fiscal Year 2006 and “such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2010” and DIRECTS the NIH to conduct research on animals to develop alternative techniques to derive pluripotent stem cell lines without creating or harming embryos. Congressman Bartlett said he was confident that H.R. 3144 would be signed into law by President Bush.

Congressman Bartlett is the ONLY Member of Congress who is a scientist with a P.hD. in Human Physiology, advanced coursework in embryology, 20 patents and who has conducted basic and applied medical research, including at NIH.

In “No Airtight Case for Embryo Biopsy,” (Roll Call, Letters, July 20) Kathy Hudson (Director, Genetics and Public Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University) argued eloquently that it is ethically reprehensible to biopsy a healthy human embryo to provide raw fodder for scientific research,” said Bartlett. “I agree. That is why the Bartlett bill, HR 3144, directs the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on only animals to explore alternative techniques of deriving pluripotent stem-cell lines without creating or harming embryos.”

Bartlett noted, “Hudson and other proponents of HR 810 don’t discuss the ethics of destroying a healthy embryo to provide raw fodder for scientific research. However, that is precisely what occurs with the current technique of deriving embryonic stem-cell lines. H.R. 810 would approve spending federal taxpayers’ dollars to destroy healthy human embryos to provide raw fodder for scientific research.”

“There have already been 1,000 healthy babies born worldwide after undergoing PreImplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PIGD) biopsy as eight-celled embryos,” noted Bartlett. “The exact stage at which human embryos are currently destroyed, the blastocyst stage, is also a stage at which embryos divide completely in half and produce identical twins.”

“One of my grandmothers died from Lou Gehrig’s disease,” said Bartlett. “My mother died from Alzheimer’s and my heart breaks when I meet children suffering from Juvenile Diabetes. I also have a 100% pro-life voting record. That is why, as a scientist with a Ph.D. in human physiology, I strongly advocate research using pluripotent stem-cell lines that may be derived from several sources, including from embryos without creating or harming them. This must be proved in animals first. Taking a human embryo’s life in the hopes of someday helping other humans is ethically reprehensible to me.”

A person is a person no matter how small,” said Bartlett. “That includes every single embryo. Each is a distinct and genetically unique human with the capacity to develop into a baby. Each could become the next Einstein or Beethoven. There have already been 100 Snowflake babies from discarded embryos.”

Proven

  • Derive pluripotent stem cell lines by destroying human embryos
  • Pluripotent stem cells produce every kind of tissue of human beings
  • Adult stem cells are being used for dozens of treatments for human patients

    Unproven WITHOUT Research
  • Pluripotent stem cells may produce more/better/different treatments/cures than adult stem cells
  • Derive pluripotent stem cell lines without creating or harming embryos

July 29, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
President
The United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We, the undersigned, respectfully urge you to take advantage of a unique opportunity to advance embryonic stem cell research without creating or harming embryos by urging support and passage of H.R. 3144, the “Respect for Life Pluripotent Stem Cell Act of 2005.” Instead of dividing our nation over this issue, this bill will bridge the gap between the ethical and scientific dilemmas other stem cell legislation presents.

H.R. 3144 is based upon the recommendations of your President’s Council on Bioethics in its May 2005 “White Paper: Alternative Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells.” It was developed with technical assistance from key members of your Administration. In a May 23, 2005 letter, Dr. James A. Battey, the Director of the Stem Cell Task Force for the National Institutes of Health expressed enthusiasm for research in animals to explore alternative techniques of deriving human embryonic stem-cell lines. This bill was also crafted with intensive and extensive consultations with other key pro-life supporters before it was introduced on June 30. It would authorize $15 million in Fiscal Year 2006 and “such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2010” and directs the NIH to conduct research on only animals to develop alternative techniques to derive pluripotent stem cell lines without creating or harming embryos. Scientists who testified on July 12, 2005 before the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee and Members all supported federally funded research into these alternative techniques of deriving embryonic stem-cell lines.

We believe that it is ethically reprehensible to destroy a healthy human embryo to provide raw fodder for scientific research. Mr. President it is simply unacceptable that the only embryonic stem cell bill on your desk be H.R. 810/S. 471. Our country and the world need H.R. 3144, a positive pro-life embryonic stem cell bill that will give Americans hope that medical applications of embryonic stem cell-lines might provide the miracle cures and treatments envisioned by many.

Sincerely,

Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD-6)
Phil Gingrey (R-GA-1)
Tom Osborne (R-NE-3)
Bob Beauprez (R-CO-7)
John Abney Culberson (R-TX-7)
Chris Cannon (R-UT-3)
Gil Gutknecht (R-MN-1)
Charlie Norwood ((R-GA-9)
Tom Price (R-GA-6)
Nathan Deal (R-GA-10)
Michael T. McCaul (R-TX-10)
Jerry Weller (R-IL-11)
J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ-5)

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