Scientists Say Bush Has Brought Stem Cell Research to a Standstill
Several scientists told a US Senate subcommittee yesterday that President Bush has severely thwarted research on embryonic stem cells that could hold the key to cures for such degenerative diseases as Parkinson’s, neural injuries and diabetes. Last year, Bush gave into anti-abortion forces and placed serious restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research – currently there are 78 “self-sustaining” cell lines that are eligible for federally funded research.
However, access to these lines has been made “inordinately difficult,” according to Dr. George Daley of the Whitehead Institute who testified before the Senate Appropriations labor, health and human services subcommittee. “The field of embryonic stem cell research is in a fragile state at best under the current presidential policy,” Daley told the subcommittee. In addition, the cell lines approved by Bush were cultivated with mouse cells which means they have very little therapeutic value for humans, Roger Pedersen, a California researcher who has moved his research to England because of the restrictions, told the subcommittee.
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), who chaired the hearing, told the scientists that he would press Congress to do away with the president’s restrictions, according to the New York Times. Earlier this year, Specter introduced a bill (S. 2439) that would allow cloning for therapeutic services while outlawing it for reproductive purposes that gained support from such anti-abortion lawmakers as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Earlier this month, Specter announced that he had the 60 votes needed to pass the bill but it has since been stalled in the Senate. The House has already passed a bill outlawing cloning for any purpose.
Media Resources: TheHill.com 9/4/02; Associated Press 9/26/02; New York Times 9/26/02; Washington Post 9/26/02; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 9/26/02
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .