Patients said to offer stem-cell solution
'we can all live with'
By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the U.S. Senate prepared to consider competing proposals on the funding of stem-cell research, a representative of the U.S. bishops' pro-life office said the presence of four people on Capitol Hill showed that "there are solutions we can all live with."
Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information in the bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, participated in a June 20 press conference organized by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and featuring four patients who have been treated successfully for a variety of illnesses with adult stem cells or those from umbilical-cord blood.
The four were Jackie Rabon of Waverly, Ill., a paraplegic who received a successful treatment with adult stem cells; Ryan Schneider of Chicago, who received a cord-blood treatment for cerebral palsy; Abby Pell of the Washington area, who was treated with her own cord blood for brain damage she suffered at birth; and David Foege of Naples, Fla., who was successfully treated for heart failure with adult stem cells.
"We praise these patients and families for their courage, their persistence and their willingness to come to Washington to present how ethically sound stem-cell research is paving the road to treatments," McQuade said.
"No one should think that the stem-cell debate forces us to choose between ethics and science," she added. "We can support both. There is no need to sell our souls in the quest to heal our bodies."
At the press conference Brownback said the four told "absolutely phenomenal stories of successes" using adult stem cells or cord-blood stem cells. "We need to do more of this," he added.
The Kansas senator called for a full floor debate on bioethics issues when the Senate considers H.R. 810, the Stem-Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which he and the Catholic Church oppose.
"I want you to see where we're seeing successes without bioethical questions involved," he said at the press conference.