Next Phase of Stem-Cell Debate to Be Led by DeGette

March 2009

U.S. Representative Diana DeGette was the first to receive kudos from President Barack Obama yesterday as he cleared the way for federal dollars to be used in controversial embryonic stem-cell research. After President George W. Bush banned funding of the research in 2001, DeGette authored two unsuccessful pieces of legislation to overturn him, as The Denver Post notes. She also launched a national campaign and wrote a book on the subject. The battle is also personal, because her daughter suffers from diabetes, a condition that might be treated by embryonic stem cells. While Obama lifted the ban, he also seemed to avoid the "thorniest question" of whether money could be used directly on experiments of embryos themselves, reports The New York Times. That's another matter known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, a 13-year-old law that disallows the use of tax dollars to create or destroy human embryos, but not stem cells from embryos once they've been created, according to The Washington Post. DeGette tells the Times that it is also time to review that amendment, and abortion opponents, such as the National Right to Life Committee, are girding for battle.