Get Mad America, Your Cures are Being Crushed

Published: April 11, 2007
168

Senate Bill 5, The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act Of 2007, was just passed in the U.S. Senate. It has been praised by some stem cell advocates as a major advance to allow stem cell research to progress in this country…and it may be. What many of these advocates fail to realize is that the passage of another bill, Senate Bill 30, on the same day, will negate (if this bill is passed in the House) any benefit gained from Senate Bill 5. Wake up America, wake up CAMR (Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research), wake up you Democratic senators that voted with the Republican party line to pass Senate Bill 30 (Senators Akaka, Brown, Byrd, Carper, Casey, Conrad, Dorgan, Harkin, Kennedy, Kerry, Klobuchar, Landrieu, Leahy, McCaskill, Nelson, Pryor, Reed, Salazar, Webb, and Whitehouse).

Senate Bill 30, if enacted, would be an anathema to stem cell research, both embryonic and adult. Every American with any chronic Disability should be very upset about the passage of Senate Bill 30. This bill must be stopped in the house. People with spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, ALS, blindness, diabetes and many other diseases which could benefit from embryonic stem cell research should rise up in protest against the stupidity and ignorance contained in Senate Bill 30.

Perhaps it’s excusable that the Republican senators voted along party lines, as they always do – intellectuals that they are. But for those Democratic senators that voted “yea” for this bill, I have just one question: “Did you read the bill?” Actually I have several other questions. “Do you know what the Dickey amendment is?” and “Do you realize that if Senate Bill 30 is passed in the House it will severely impede progress in one of the most promising fields of scientific research ever explored by mankind?”

A more learned friend of mine, Louis Guenin, put it this way: “S. 30 elevates the Dickey Amendment from an ephemeral appropriations bill rider to a statute. (This in sec. 3 enacting sec. 498D(a) of the Public Health Service Act with proviso carried over from the Dickey Amendment.) If that bill, or any other bill incorporating that provision, is adopted by the House, the statute will bind unless repealed by a subsequent act of Congress signed by the President. It is of course unknown what the balance of power will be in Congress after the 2008 election. That 70 Senators voted to do this–unwittingly, so it appears, in the belief that they were only authorizing purported alternatives to human embryonic stem cell research–would seem to indicate a failure of the research community’s representatives in Washington to perceive and articulate the ill effect of sec. 498D(a).”

Translated, this means that what has lurked in the body politic as a menacing parasite known as the Dickey amendment will become intractably lodged in the legal system of our nation, making it even more difficult to expunge when we finally awaken from this theocratic nightmare.

America, please, write, call, or email your representatives. Demand that they stop what will be the House version of Senate Bill 30. This bill will make the Dickey amendment law, and retard research that has the potential of curing millions of people around the world. This is not an exaggeration. This is fact. Americans should be angry about the passage of S.30. I am.

Ralph Dittman, MD, MPH