A recent article in Scientific American questioned whether research on stem cell lines derived from unfertilized eggs was too tightly regulated by the federal government. Now that technology allows the creation of stem cells without fertilization, there is no question that federal laws and guidelines are overly restrictive, causing a detrimental effect on valuable scientific inquiry.
Since 1996, Congress has included the Dickey-Wicker Amendment in the annual federal budget. This amendment was a conservative reaction to what some considered to be scientific research that showed little respect toward life.
For example, speaking to the Senate in 1996, Robert Smith (R-NH) said, “Just because a private party wants to destroy life, why should Government force taxpayers to give their blessing to that act? Let private parties use private money for their ethically challenged experiments.” Similarly, Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR) said, also in 1996, that embroyonic research was “an attack on the sanctity of life,” and pointed out that several pro-life organizations supported the amendment.
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