Science/Environment

Frist Breaks Ranks To Support Stem Cell Bill

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The Senate majority leader is reaching out to the center of the aisle, aka Donklephant readers. Good for him.

More on stem cells from the NY Times:

“While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases,” Mr. Frist says, according to a text of the speech provided by his office Thursday evening. “Therefore, I believe the president’s policy should be modified.”

Mr. Frist’s move will undoubtedly change the political landscape in the debate over embryonic stem cell research, one of the thorniest moral issues to come before Congress. The chief House sponsor of the bill, Representative Michael N. Castle, Republican of Delaware, said, “His support is of huge significance.”

The stem cell bill has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate, where competing measures are also under consideration. Because Mr. Frist’s colleagues look to him for advice on medical matters, his support for the bill could break the Senate logjam. It could also give undecided Republicans political license to back the legislation, which is already close to having the votes it needs to pass the Senate.

Again, I applaud Frist for changing his mind. This research has the potential to help a lot of people, and I’m glad he’s seeing the “culture of life” crowd could use a push towards the center.