Iowa’s two U.S. Senators are on opposite sides of this (Tuesday) afternoon’s expected vote on an embryonic stem cell research funding bill, which President Bush pledges to veto. Democrat Tom Harkin is co-sponsoring the bipartisan bill which he says could lead to cures for many diseases, including diabetes.
Republican Chuck Grassley will vote “no” on the measure, saying human embryos should not be destroyed. Grassley says “It’s wrong to destroy life in the embryo for scientific research. I don’t know how far down that line you can go and not violate a lot of ethics that the United States has stood for — for the protection of life and what the Constitution is all about.”
Grassley says he wants to distinguish that he opposes the research using embryonic stem cells, but supports the use of adult stem cells. He says “There’s more than 70 medical procedures that the use of adult stem cell research has proven beneficial. In the case of embryonic stem cell research, there’s not one instance of it helping (cure) any disease or anything.”
The legislation has already passed the House but it’s uncertain if it will get 67 votes in the Senate, enough to overturn the threatened Bush veto. Grassley says it’s a hot-button issue and many people have gotten confused about the facts. Grassley says “I think people are trying to make out that there’s a case that somehow it’s illegal to do stem cell research. Well, we’re doing some now based upon the president’s decision in August. It’s just a question of how much more should be done.”
Grassley says he would support legislation that would back the research if the stem cells can be obtained without destroying the embryos.