Embryonic Stem Cell Vote Could Affect Senate Race

The Senate is set to vote on a three bill package encouraging the federal government to fund and conduct embryonic stem cell research. Senator Mike DeWine said last week he would vote according to his Pro-Life beliefs, a stance that could benefit his opponent.

Republican incumbent Mike DeWine says he will vote NO on at least one of the three embryonic stem cell bills. The main bill, passed by the U.S. House last year, would call for the federal government to give funding for stem cell research involving embryos created in fertility clinics. U.S. Senator Mike DeWine.

“I am Pro-Life. So I do not believe that we should, you know, create embryos to destroy them. Nor do I believe that embryos should be destroyed. And so I will vote accordingly,” DeWine said.

U.S. Congressman Sherrod Brown, running against DeWine, said politics should not be involved in scientific research like stem cells.

“This is an issue that I join with Nancy Reagan, I join with the medical communities, medical researchers all over the country in pursuing real science, real medical research that can help, literally, millions of Americans,” Brown said.

Ohio’s Senate race is considered to be one to watch. Herb Asher is a retired political science professor at the Ohio State University. Asher said polls suggest more Americans are in favor of stem cell research than are opposed to it. He said with DeWine and Brown at opposing views about stem cell funding, this week’s vote could benefit Brown’s campaign.

“If the Senator votes as you are telling me, I would expect that his opponent will try to use the vote as a way of gaining support among the middle ground in Ohio,” Asher said.

A second bill would ban facilities from accepting tissue from an embryo implanted or developed in a woman or animal for research And the third would promote embryo-like stem cell development without creating or harming embryos. Two positions that DeWine supports.

“My vote will be consistent with my Pro-Life beliefs. But also consistent with my belief that we should have, clearly, medical research. I’ve supported medical research and in other areas of stem cell research, adult stem cells,” DeWine said.

While Brown is in favor of federal funding for stem cell research he says it must be done within ethical means.

“I think that we should do whatever we can, as I’ve voted in the past, whatever we can, to help within ethical bounds to help with medical research. In no way is this cloning anything like that, that the political profiteers like to make this as,” Brown said.

The Ohio U.S. Senate race is expected to be a tight one, and stem cell research could prove to be a pivotal issue for either candidate.

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