OU Welcomes U.S. House Passage of HR 3 The “Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act”
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomed today’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives approving the bipartisan Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 3), sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D, CO) along with 217 cosponsors and introduced on January 5, 2007. H.R. 3 was passed with an impressive vote of 253-174.
The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 will allow federal funds to support embryonic stem cell research on cell lines created from excess embryos from IVF clinics which would otherwise be destroyed.
The Senate will be taking up their version of the bill, S. 5, within the next few weeks.
In reaction to the House vote on H.R. 3, 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. Moreover, the traditional Jewish perspective does not accord an embryo outside of the womb the full status of humanhood and its attendant protections. Thus, stem cell research may be consistent with and serve these moral and noble goals; however, such research must not be pursued indiscriminately.
By narrowly tailoring those cells upon which such research may be conducted, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act serves to value and venerate the sanctity of life and our responsibilities to our fellow man and woman.
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.