The WORD from Harrisburg
By Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair)
As co-chairman of the House of Representatives Pro-Life Caucus, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the progress of new stem cell research being done with adult stem cells, as opposed to the life-ending destruction of embryonic stem cells for medical advancement.
In a recent article by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, there are reports of amazing new treatments for heart disease being done with the use of adult stem cells, which can be harvested from the umbilical cord, placenta, amniotic fluid, adult tissues and organs. Once the cells are harvested, the cells can be used to grow new, viable tissue that can repair damaged organs and tissue.
According to a doctor at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, there have been approximately 1,000 successful adult stem cell implants for hearts in the United States. This is an incredible feat that embryonic stem cell research has yet to duplicate, in fact, embryonic stem cells research has yet to result in even one successful medical therapy.
On the other hand, adult stem cells have already claimed credit for helping with the treatment or cure of more than 73 diseases and conditions, including Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and certain forms of cancer, in addition to life-saving heart therapies. The idea is that the stem cells can be used to grow various tissue types, such as heart, brain, lung and liver tissue that would be used to repair damaged or diseased organs.
Furthermore, recent medical research has claimed that skin cells can actually now be reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells.
So the question becomes: Why is anyone still pursuing the destruction of human life through embryonic stem cell research, when other, more viable, stem cell research is already making great strides against dozens of diseases without harm to human life?
Author Christian Wilde notes that adult stem cells used for heart disease treatment “present no possibility for rejection, no moral implication regarding their harvesting and are proving to be very effective in treating many other diseases in addition to heart disease.”
In addition, the director of the National Genome Research Institute has been quoted as saying, “We are currently finding that these adult stem cells can function as well, perhaps even better than embryonic stem cells.”
Over the past few years, there has been legislation that claims to support stem cell research here in Pennsylvania. When reviewing such legislation we must pay careful attention to the wording to make sure it does not include language that would legally allow the creation of human embryos to be destroyed for research.
Although I support adult stem cell research, I am against any legislation that supports or allows the destruction of human embryos for medical research.
There is no question that we must continue to strive for medical advancements in the race to cure many of the diseases that afflict us today; however, when there are other viable options that are clearly working better and making greater strides, such as adult stem cell research, there is no logical need to destroy the potential life that results from human embryos.
Rep. Jerry Stern
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Tricia Lehman
House Republican Public Relations