Dear Senator Shafer:
I write to commend your recently introduced bill, Senate Bill 148, the Saving the Cure Act. It stands to play an enormously important role in helping Georgia and the nation make the most of the promise of effective and sound stem-cell research while protecting human life and respecting human dignity.
For too long, the stem cell debate has been distorted by those who advocate exclusively for research in which human embryos are destroyed. They insist that any attempt to find ways to advance stem-cell science without harming nascent lifeâ€”and thereby to serve both science and ethics at onceâ€”is misguided. But even as they make that case, evidence of the value of alternative sources of stem cells, both for basic science and for clinical applications, continues to mount.
Elected officials and policy makers are entrusted to advance the public good, and in the area of biomedical research this means not only supporting the progress of science but also ensuring it progresses in an ethical way. The ideal role for government in the stem cell field, therefore, is to encourage productive avenues of research that avert the ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, rather than exacerbate the disputes that arise around those dilemmas.
By establishing a network of banks for amniotic fluid and postnatal tissue, your bill would advance stem-cell science that has already proven itself as a source of cells for both research and therapy, and would encourage the further development of ethical stem-cell research techniques. It offers a model of balanced and constructive public policy.
I commend you on an excellent proposal and wish you well as you pursue it.
Director, Project on Bioethics and American Democracy
The Ethics and Public Policy Center