WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced S. 2956, the “Patients First Act,” which would promote stem cell research without the creation, use, destruction, or discarding of human embryos. U.S. Senators Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and James Lankford, R-Okla., are original cosponsors of the legislation.
“Human life is sacred and should never be created or destroyed for research purposes,” Wicker said. “This legislation would promote the use of ethically-obtained adult stem cells for research and treatments. These stem cells have proven to be far more effective and economical than the use of embryonic stem cells. This bill is a win-win for scientific advancements that may lead to better treatments and cures, and it ensures that the dignity of all life is protected.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony List said, “Effective, economical, and ethical alternatives to embryonic stem cell research exist. Adult stem cells are the gold standard for stem cell treatment, having been used to help over one million patients worldwide. The aptly-named Patients First Act is a good example of how policymakers can advance cutting-edge medicine and direct precious resources where they will do the most good for patients. As a nation, our progress in treating disease should not come at the terrible cost of destroying nascent human life.”
Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund said, "The March for Life fully supports the Patients First Act. This bill prioritizes life-saving research over life-destroying experimentation, and demonstrates how pro-science is also pro-life."
David Christensen, Vice President of Government Affairs of Family Research Council said, “We strongly support the Patients First Act led by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) in the Senate and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) in the House. The Patients First Act advances sound science while protecting the dignity of all human life. It prioritizes federal research dollars on stem cell research showing results of helping people suffering from terrible diseases, without funding for the creation, destruction, or use of human embryos. This not only reinforces our belief that all life is sacred and should be protected, but it will also allow the NIH to prioritize non-embryonic stem cell research that has been proven to have the greatest benefits for treating disease. The bill advances both science and therapies while protecting our conscience.”
The Patients First Act would:
- Promote the creation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation of human embryos, or the destruction or discarding of, or risk of injury, to human embryos;
- Intensify stem cell research that may result in an improved understanding of, or treatments for, diseases and other adverse health conditions;
- Promote research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and show evidence of providing clinical benefit for human patients;
- Direct the National Institutes of Health to prioritize stem cell research that has the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefits given currently available evidence;
- Reverse President Obama’s Executive Order 13505, which gave the Department of Health and Human services the authority to use embryonic stem cells in research; and
- Codify the Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research.
Wicker’s legislation is the Senate companion to H.R. 2918, the “Patients First Act,” introduced by Congressman Jim Banks, R-Ind., in the U.S. House of Representatives.