On June 7 2007 I sent the President the following email:
I just noted that the Stem Cell Therapy Enhancement Act of 2007 has passed both Houses of Congress and is bound for your desk. Mr. President please do not veto hope! Hope for the millions who either today or in the future will confront chronic and often times life-threatening diseases.
In the past you have identified yourself as a compassionate conservative. Don’t overlook compassion for those of us that walk this earth today. And please remember this is a right-to-life issue for many of us suffering from numerous chronic progressive and debilitating diseases. The embryo in question will never be implanted in a mother’s womb, it will never be adopted, it has NO FUTURE! By the stroke of your veto pen you render those embryo totally useless. However, by signing this legislation that embryo may provide science with one small step toward solving the mysteries of some of medicine’s most elusive disease treatments.
Mr. President, I live with one of those diseases. And though the genetic connection has never been proven I have to seriously consider how I, my half-sister and our aunt all contracted Multiple Sclerosis. I look at my grand-children and wonder, are they destined to confront this disease as well?
Mr. President, hope rests in your hands!
Then yesterday, May 19, 2008, I received a written response, the letter read:
THE WHITE HOUSE
May 15, 2008
Mr. Frank Austin
Tustin, California 92780-6941
Dear Mr. Austin:
Thank you for writing to President Bush about the complex issue of human embryonic stem cell research. We appreciate hearing your views.
In making a decision on the use of Federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research, the President received advice from scientists, scholars, bioethicists, religious leaders, doctors, researchers, members of the Congress and the Cabinet, and the American people. He spent a great deal of time studying and reflecting on this issue. The result is a balanced policy shaped by deeply held beliefs regarding both the sanctity of human life and the potential of science and medicine to help humanity.
The President’s policy has allowed important research to go forward without using Federal funds to encourage the further deliberate destruction of human embryos. There is no ban on human embryonic stem cell research, and the policy places no limits on the research itself. In fact, this Administration became the first to make Federal funds available for this research -- yet only on stem cell lines derived from embryos that had already been destroyed at the time the President announced his approach to embryonic stem cell research.
The Administration’s investment in stem cell research has expanded studies using alternative types of human stem cells -- drawn from adults, children, umbilical-cord blood, and other non-embryonic sources which can he drawn with no harm tothe donor. This research using non-embryonic stem cells has already Jed to treatments for thousands of patients and continues to show great promise.
In addition, researchers are developing new techniques to produce stem cells similar in nature to those derived from human embryos, but without harming or destroying embryos. As the President has said, our challenge is to harness the power of science to ease human suffering without sanctioning the practices that violate the dignity of human life. President Bush believes that America’s scientists have the ingenuity and skill to meet this challenge.
For more information on President Bush’s policy on stem cell research, you may wish to visit the White House website at whitehouse.gov/stemcell. Thank you again for writing. President Bush sends his best wishes.
Special Assistant to the President and
Director of Presidential Correspondence