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July 28, 2005 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-07-28

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Stem Cell Use

Hadassah activists lobby Congress
on controversial measure.

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ing that if we could get the national
legislature pass the stem cell enhance-
ment bill, that the Michigan legislators
would follow suit. There is a terrible
brain drain from the state already,
lans for Hadassah activists to
we've had major researchers leave the
meet in Washington last week
University of Michigan for California,
had been made years in
and it's an economic issue as well as a
advance, but the timing could not
life saving issue."
have been more per-
The legislation
is supported
More than 1,500
Stem Cell Cultivation
throughout the
women from
Jewish commu-
Hadassah, the lead-
nity: Both the
ing advocate in the
Jewish community
Action Center
for embryonic
a)In V. Fertilized Egg
I Blastocyst Stage (5-7 days old)
for Reform
stem-cell research,
(1) Inner Stern Cell Mass
(g) Cultured Undiftemtiated Stern Cells
e Specialized Cells:
Judaism and the
took to Capitol Hill
blood cells
b. neural cells
Orthodox Union
on July 19, just
muscle cells
have lobbied for it.
days before the
In their meeting with
U.S. Senate was
the senator's aides, the Hadassah
expected to debate a controversial bill
women from Georgia noted that
to fund that very research.
embryonic stem-cell research could
The legislation, which would extend
help treat or cure illnesses such as
funding for research on human stem
heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's dis-
cells from embryos that otherwise
ease and Parkinson's disease. They
would be discarded, passed the House
compared the ethical concerns being
of RepresentativeS in May. President
raised about the procedure to opposi-
Bush has vowed to veto it.
tion to the Polio vaccine when it was
Hadassah members spread out
through the halls of Congress to lobby first unveiled.
The group also talked at length
their individual representatives and
about the work being done on stem-
cell research at Hadassah's two hospi-
Stem cells are extracted from
tals in Israel.
embryos and can be manipulated to
The women also talked about sup-
create various human-blood and tissue
port for another piece of legislation,
cells. Stem cell lines are cell groups
which would prevent discrimination
extracted from embryos and are capa-
based on genetic makeup, as well as
ble of reproducing themselves.
two foreign-policy priorities regarding
The Stem Cell Research
foreign aid and pressure on Iran.
Enhancement Act passed the House,
Esther Panitch, 33, an Atlanta
238-194, but the Act would need two-
lawyer, said lobbying was important.
thirds support to override a presiden-
"You really feel like you are part of
tial veto. Supporters hope it will gar-
the democratic process," she said.
ner the 67 votes needed to block the
"You feel like you're being heard as a
president's veto there. The Senate vote
was postponed from last week and it is citizen, which is your highest calling."
Greater Detroit chapter executive
unclear when it will come up again.
director Evelyn Diskin considered the
Bush allowed research using existing
convention a success.
stem-cell lines from 2001, but no fur-
"It was very impressive to see the
ther lines are available for use under
1,500 delegates at convention carrying
current administration policy. The bill
their red Haddassah folders, walking
would change that.
back and forth in Congress buildings,"
Hadassah of Greater Detroit chapter
president Sue Luria, who was part of a said Diskin, of West Bloomfield. "I
think we made a statement. "0
12-member delegation, said it's essen-
tial that the bill pass the Senate.
"Our stem cell legislation here [in
— Staff Writer Harry Kirsbaum
Michigan] is kind of stuck," said
contributed to this report
Luria, of Bloomfield Hills. "I was hop-

Jewish Telegraphic Agency



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