Connecticut Congressman Chris Shays recently made some insightful comments regarding stem cell research on the House floor. With this speech Congressman Shays has once again affirmed himself as a real Republican, representing Connecticut with common sense and compassion and placing ethical medical advancement above misguided ideology. It would do many members of the GOP, including President Bush, good to take the Congressman’s words to heart when considering their position on this lifesaving research.
“I applaud the Gentlelady from Colorado and the Gentleman from Delaware for their work on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and working with so many families on a bipartisan basis who have been impacted by diseases that may be cured as a result of this vital research. Their work and dedication on this legislation has been tremendous and praiseworthy. “I also thank them for giving me the opportunity to cast one of the most important votes I will ever make in Congress. “Almost everyone has lost some family members and friends prematurely. Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to cure disease and save lives, and it is only 8 years old. “These are stem cells that come from the inner cells of discarded embryos that were never in a mother’s womb and are being destroyed as we speak. “Thus, this is not a matter or pro-life versus pro-choice but rather a matter of humanity and the potential of life versus disease and the certainty of death. “I am grateful the new Democratic leadership is making this legislation a priority in this Congress just as I was grateful that the Republican leadership gave us an opportunity for a clean up or down vote for legislation in the last Congress. I pray we pass the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 and that the President reconsiders his position and signs this bill into law. “Sometimes ideology can box you in and cause you to make wrong and harmful decisions. I think it is time we recognize the Dark Ages are over. Galileo and Copernicus have been proven right. The world is, in fact, round and the earth does revolve around the sun. I believe God gave us the intellect to differentiate between imprisoning dogma and sound ethical science, which is what we must do here today. “I want history to look back at this Congress and say that in the face of age-old tensions between religion versus science, the members here allowed critical scientific research to advance while respecting important ethical questions that surround it.”