Thursday, June 7, 2007

Rogers votes against stem cell research... again

Back in January, Mike Rogers voted against H.R. 3, a bill that would amend Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells. Here's what we said back then:

Mr. Rogers consistently gets perfect marks from the National Right to Life committee, which opposes embryonic stem cell research, so it's not a big shock that he would vote against such a bill.

Of course, Mike Rogers wasn't elected to congress to represent the National Right to Life committee, he was elected to represent voters in the 8th district.

National polls have consistently shown strong public support for stem cell research (as high as 74%), so it's a safe bet that there is similar support here in the 8th district. Once again, Mike Rogers has proved that he doesn't represent the values of his constituents.

Well, he was at it again today. The bill came back through the House after the Senate voted to pass a slightly modified version back in April by an overwhelming majority.

Fittingly, Mike Rogers voted against stem cell research for the second time today.

Are we disappointed? Of course!

Surprised? Nope.

Of course, over in the UK, they've already had remarkable breakthroughs with stem cell research. In fact, just yesterday, British scientists announced that a cure for the most common cause of blindness may only be ten years away:

A ROUTINE operation to restore the sight of people afflicted with the most common cause of blindness will be available within a decade, British scientists believe.

Their declaration came as teams of US and Japanese experts turned mouse tissue cells into embryonic stem cells without the use of eggs or embryos, the most controversial aspect of ES cell research.

The US and Japanese findings were reported yesterday in the journals Nature and Cell Stem Cell.

"We now have the right mechanism for sourcing cells without ethical quibbles," said Peter Mountford, head of Melbourne- and London-based Stem Cell Sciences.

"We can foreseeably generate human ES cells from anybody with any genetic background with any disease."

Lawmakers in the UK understand that stem cell research holds great promise for medical breakthroughs like the one announced yesterday. That's why the British Government created the UK Stem Cell Initiative in March 2005:

The Government believes that stem cell research offers enormous potential to deliver new treatments for currently incurable illnesses, like chronic heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson's. The UK shows considerable strength in this area. On the back of rising public funding for medical and bioscience research, and emerging commercial and public health opportunities to translate this R&D into patient benefit, there is a real opportunity now to set a clear direction for the UK's future endeavours in stem cell research.

On 16th March 2005, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the establishment of the UK Stem Cell Initiative. The Budget report set out the broad goals of the Initiative: a high-level review, in collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders, to formulate a ten-year vision for UK stem cell research, creating a platform for coordinated public and private funding of research.

Fortunately, despite Mike Rogers' NO votes on stem cell research, the bills passed anyway. However, it is unfortunate that our congressman continues to vote against this life-saving research. Michigan's 8th district deserves better representation.

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