FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS
WELCOMES HOUSE PASSAGE OF STEM CELL RESEARCH FUNDING LEGISLATION; HOPES FOR FINAL ENACTMENT
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomed today’s vote in the House approving the bipartisan Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act previously approved by the Senate (S. 5). The measure differs from a House-approved bill (HR 3) passed earlier this year. The bill was amended in the Senate to include language from last year’s Specter-Santorum bill (S. 2754) President Bush said he needed to support the legislation.
Congress will soon send to President Bush the finalized legislation that would allow federal funding for research using stem cells derived from human embryos originally created for fertility treatments and willingly donated by patients. Current policy allows federal money only for research using embryonic stem cells created on or before Aug. 9, 2001. President Bush has threatened to veto this legislation.
Nathan Diament, Policy Director at the UOJCA issued the following statement:
The Jewish tradition places great value upon human life and its preservation. The Torah commands us to treat and cure the ill and to defeat disease wherever possible; to do this is to be the Creator’s partner in safeguarding the created. The traditional Jewish perspective thus emphasizes that the potential to save and heal human lives is an integral part of valuing human life.
We recognize that those who oppose this research and this legislation do so upon the basis of deeply and sincerely held moral beliefs. So too, the UOJCA supports this legislation because of our deeply held moral and religious traditions. We commend all those who engage in this important debate with respect and civility for those with whom they disagree; that is the only type of debate this issue deserves.
We appreciate the President’s position on this matter which allows this research to proceed when privately funded and his principled reservations against allowing taxpayer funds to support it. Nevertheless, we respectfully disagree and we would hope President Bush would allow the legislation passed by Congress to stand; failing that we would encourage Congress to override the President’s veto.