HADASSAH DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY PRESIDENTIAL VETO OF STEM CELL LEGISLATION
(New York, NY -- July 19, 2006) -- Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, today expressed profound disappointment at President Bush’s decision to veto critical legislation that would have advanced stem cell research.
President Bush vetoed the legislation today in his first use of presidential veto power since taking office, despite the strong support with which the legislation passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“With one stroke of the pen, the President has dismissed the will of the American people as it was expressed by both the House and Senate in support of the advancement of stem cell research,” said Hadassah’s National President June Walker. “It is immoral for our families, neighbors and friends to be held hostage to chronic diseases when their treatments are within our scientific grasp.
"It is shame for all those who are suffering from diseases whose treatment and cure is within our reach that the President places greater value on safeguarding “potential life” than he does on safeguarding the lives of those who are living in the here and now,” added Walker.
Hadassah, a leading advocate for the advancement of stem cell research on both Capitol Hill and on a national grassroots level, reached out to win the support of key legislators in a struggle in which every vote counted down to the moment when roll was called. In May 2005, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist visited the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem where he toured the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center, which houses the second oldest stem cell line in the world.
Polls show that as many as 75 percent of Americans favor pursuing cures to chronic disease through embryonic stem cell research. This legislation would allow federal funding for research on a dramatically increased number of stem cells lines, thereby exponentially increasing the potential of finding cures and treatment for 100 million Americans suffering from diseases such as juvenile diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and spinal cord injuries.