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Pro-life stem cell research

Letter to the Editor | Monday, April 7, 2008

On Mar. 26, I spoke to the Notre Dame Law School Pro-Life Club about what it means to be a pro-life Democrat and the current political and policy debates in Washington regarding the sanctity of human life. During my speech, I talked about my opposition to using federal funds for embryonic stem cell research due to my belief – and the beliefs of many of my constituents – that our tax dollars should not be used to advance research that results in the destruction of human embryos (“Donnelly Expands Pro-Life Definition” Mar. 27 issue).In the course of the one-hour discussion, I misspoke at one point, saying that I support increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. This is not the case.I am a strong supporter of other promising forms of stem cell research that do not harm embryos or fetuses. Thankfully, the science of stem cells is rapidly developing, bringing new breakthroughs with each passing year. We should fully explore the possibilities and potential of adult stem cells as well as those stem cells found in cord blood and amniotic fluid. Even more exciting is the most recent development that could lead to our one day being able to convert ordinary skin cells into stem cells. To show my support of non-embryonic types of stem cell research, I joined Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois in introducing legislation last April to establish a National Amniotic and Placental Stem Cell Bank to encourage stem cell research derived from amniotic fluid or placenta. I believe by using these means we can achieve breakthroughs that will result in cures and treatments for injuries and illnesses without harming human life.I will continue to protect the sanctity of life while also supporting the social programs that encourage expectant mothers to choose life and enable those same mothers to feed, clothe and educate their children.

Congressman Joe DonnellyD-GrangerApr. 6