Congress Passes Stem Cell Legislation

June 11, 2007

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On June 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (S.5) by a vote of 247 to 176.

Though the House already passed similar legislation in January, S. 5 is the version approved by the Senate. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act would allow federal funding for research using stem cells derived from human embryos originally created for fertility treatments and willingly donated by patients. S. 5 differs from previous versions of this bill because it also includes language that requires the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research and fund methods for creating embryonic stem cell lines without destroying embryos. Only five percent of existing stem-cell lines (21 out of over 400) may currently be used in federally funded research, limiting the ability of American researchers to pursue pioneering stem-cell research.

Now that S. 5 has been passed by both the House and Senate, it will be sent to the President, who has again threatened to veto this bill.

In April, the AAN sent a letter to President Bush urging him to sign S. 5 into law. In addition, nearly 300 AAN members have contacted Congress in support of this legislation. To learn more and to send your own letters of support on this issue, visit the AAN's page on ESCR advocacy.