Senate Support for Stem Cell Research Reaching Critical Mass

Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), the Senate’s only M.D., added his voice to the growing call for federal funding of both embryonic and adult stem cell research. Frist serves as a trusted advisor to President Bush, who has threatened to veto stem-cell funding, on medical issues. Frist joins a long list of senators who support the research, from conservative Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services. Harkin has indicated that there may be enough votes to overturn a Bush veto on the subject. Scientists say that stem-cell research will continue with or without funding, because the lifesaving potential is too great to let experiments end. In the meantime, the Senate Appropriations Committee is reading Genesis, Chapter 2, Verse 7 to help them decide whether the thousands of spare embryos discarded by fertility patients each year constitute “life.”

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