A press conference was held on Tuesday to encourage Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to schedule a long-delayed vote on embryonic stem cell research. According to The Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, the press conference was scheduled after poll results were released proving that most Americans support such research. Earlier this month, prominent Democrats in the Senate had encouraged Frist to include debate on stem cell research in his planned “Health Week” without success.
It has been one year since the House of Representatives passed a bill to allow stem cell research with broad bipartisan support, despite the threat of a veto from President Bush, according to the Associated Press (AP). However, the Senate has yet to broach the subject and on May 4, some 40 Democratic senators sent a letter to Frist, who has voiced his personal support for stem cell research, asking that he schedule a debate. According to the letter, “further delay will mean more lost opportunities for new cures and new treatments.”
While Frist did not allow stem cell research to be discussed during “Health Week,” he has since begun making tentative plans to introduce it for debate as part of a package, according to the AP. Supporters of stem cell research in the Senate have introduced their own version of the House’s bill and hope that the press conference and poll results, as well as the support of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, will lead to a successful debate and vote.