Adopt Human Embryos, Republican Lawmakers Say

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on a bill that would allow expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Pro-life groups strongly oppose the bill because it involves the destruction of embryos, and President Bush has said he will veto it.

"I made it very clear to Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayer's money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life, I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto I," President Bush said at the White House on Friday.

H.R. 810, sponsored by Reps. Michael Castle (R-Del.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), has 201 co-sponsors, and it is formally known as the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005." But the National Right to Life Committee calls it the "Castle embryo-killing bill."

The legislation would allow federal funding of research on human embryos donated by fertility clinics with written permission from couples that do not plan to use them. The couples would not be paid for donating their "leftover" embryos.

The National Right to Life Committee is urging pro-lifers to convey their disapproval of H.R. 810 to their congressional representatives.

The NRLC points to "ethical alternatives" -- stem cells obtained from non-embryonic sources, including umbilical cords -- which have proved beneficial to humans with at least 58 diseases and conditions.

Before Congress votes on H.R. 810, several Republican lawmakers plan to hold a press conference Tuesday morning to introduce families who have adopted "leftover" embryos - and are now raising the children.

Rep. Joe Pitts (Pa.), Mike Pence (Ind.) and Dave Weldon (Fl.) said they are trying to disprove the notion that unused embryos created in fertility clinics are on the brink of destruction anyway, and therefore should be donated for stem cell research.

"Far from being destined for death by lab experiments, these 'leftovers' (now known as 'snowflakes') have changed the lives of families across the nation," the Republicans said in a press release.

The lawmakers point to couples who have tried unsuccessfully to have children of their own - then discovered that embryo adoption allowed them to become both adoptive parents and birth parents at the same time.

"We believe frozen embryos are pre-born children who deserve a chance to be born," the press release quoted a Houston couple as saying.

During Tuesday's press conference, families involved in the embryo adoption will introduce their children, who once were the same "leftover" human embryos that would be destroyed if H.R. 810 becomes law.

The Press Conference will take place on at 10:45 a.m. at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

See Earlier Story:
Couples Find an 'Adoption Option' for Leftover Embryos (15 May 2001)

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