Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417
-- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on his vote against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 which passed the Senate yesterday by a vote of 63-34. Graham voted in support of the alternative bill, the HOPE Act, which passed 70-28.
"I completely understand and appreciate the seriousness of the embryonic stem cell debate and how people of good will and motives may disagree on the proper course for our nation to chart. After careful consideration, I come out on the side of not using taxpayer dollars to condone the destruction of embryos, the early stage of all human life, for research purposes.
"President Bush has threatened to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and I support a presidential veto. Destroying viable embryos is not a choice we should or have to make.
"I hope Congress will pass and send to President Bush the HOPE Act introduced by Senators Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) and Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia). It allows robust research without embracing the slippery moral slope that comes from destroying viable embryos. It passed the Senate overwhelmingly and if given the opportunity, the House of Representatives will do likewise.
"The HOPE Act allows for research on stem cells, including pluripotent stem cells which have the flexibility of embryonic stem cells, without destroying viable human embryos. It is a better way for our nation to proceed on this sensitive subject."