Dianne Feinstein on Stem Cell Research

Last Updated : Sep 18, 2012

Summary

Since the issue has arisen, Senator Feinstein has remained a strong and vocal supporter of stem cell research and federal funding for that research. She has opposed efforts to limit the use of stem cells to those already in existence. Her legislative record is consistent with these views as she co-sponsored and voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Acts.

Human Cloning Ban Act

In 2005, Senator Feinstein accused the Republicans of allowing votes on other bills in order to pull votes away from H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. She noted that she introduced S. 1520, the Human Cloning Ban Act--with 25 bipartisan cosponsors--which would prohibit all the immoral and unethical act of human reproductive cloning. She asserted that she believed strongly that Congress must pass a prohibition on human cloning or attempts to clone human beings.

Fetus Farming Prohibition Act

In July of 2006, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and in opposition to the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act. Senator Feinstein described the legislation by asserting that the embryos in question will be discarded, the people donating the embryos must provide written consent, and the donors may not be compensated for their donation. She also asserted that the embryos in question will be destroyed whether or not this bill becomes law. Senator Feinstein also asserts that Congress should not confuse the research banned under this legislation with the activities described under the two other bills, asserting that the act bans activities that occur in horror movies, not in our research labs.

HOPE Act

In opposing the HOPE Act, Senator Feinstein objected to the use of the term "naturally dead'' to describe embryos to provide viable stem cells. She noted that the phrase was not a scientifically meaningless idea. She asserted that the debate should be about providing Federal funding, and a consistent policy, for embryonic stem cell research and not about debating these terms. She cautioned that the legislation would continue the Bush policy of only using stem cell lines created before a certain date.

Reaction to President Obama's Policy Change

When President Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for stem cell research, Senator Feinstein refered to the act as wonderful news for millions of Americans and their families who have been waiting years in hope that stem cell research will eventually lead to cures – for children afflicted with juvenile diabetes, for grandfathers and grandmothers suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and our sisters, brothers and friends grappling daily with the challenges of living with Parkinson’s, cancer and spinal cord injuries. She noted that California, which has funded hundreds of embryonic stem cell research projects, can finally receive federal funds to pursue these efforts and was convinced that the action would lead directly to cures for catastrophic disease. She called for legislation to ensure that future administrations could not reinstate the ban. 

 

Human Cloning Ban Act

In July of 2005, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of efforts to move HR 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act through the Senate. She asserts that a unanimous consent vote should be taken and that opponents of the legislation are voting on other measures to avoid the legislation.

 

Fetus Farming Prohibition Act

In July of 2006, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and in opposition to the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act. She asserts that the legislation only bans things that happen in movies and not in real life labs.

 

Anniversary of Stem Cell Ban

In August of 2006, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting the fifth anniversary of President Bush's ban on federal funding for stem cell research.

 

Reaction to Veto

In July of 2006, Senator Feinstein reacted to President Bush's veto of stem cell research legislation with a press statement.

 

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act

In July of 2006, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting her support for the passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

 

Call for Funding

In January of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting a floor speech where she voiced another call for funding for embryonic stem cell research.

 

Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007

In March of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting her support for the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007.

 

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

In April of 2007, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007. 

 

HOPE Act

In April of 2007, Senator Feinstein spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to the HOPE Act.

 

Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research

In June of 2007, Senator Feinstein released a statement calling on President Bush to support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

 

Reaction to Second Veto

In June of 2007, Senator Feinstein reacted to the second veto by President Bush.

 

Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007

In January of 2008, Senator Feinstein released a press statement noting her support for the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007.

 

Reaction to Ban Lift

In January of 2009, Senator Feinstein released a press statement in response to President Obama's lifting of a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

 

Official Website Statements

 

 

Voting Record

Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research

The final piece of legislation was dubbed the "HOPE" Act and was voted on the same day. The Hope Act (S30) shared many of the same parameters as the the Stem Cell Research Act, in that it mostly ensured that no new stem cells be created for the sole purpose of using them in research. The bill also ensured that no embryos be damaged in research. Dianne Feinstein voted against the Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research.

Dianne Feinstein voted against the Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research.

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

In April of 2007, two more stem cell related bills were voted on in the Senate. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (S5) passed with support from a vast majority of Democratic Senators and about 1/3 of the Republican Senators. The legislation required (among other things) that any research done on stem cells involve only those which already existed. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act

In July of 2006, the Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. This legislation would have allowed research on human embryonic stem cells created after President Bush's 2001 deadline. The measure passed the House and Senate, but was vetoed. It passed the Senate 63-37. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act

In July of 2006, the Senate voted unanimously to pass the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act S 2754. The bill required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to do the following three tasks: provide guidance concerning the next steps required for additional research; prioritize research with the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefit; and take into account techniques outlined by the President\'s Council on Bioethics and any other appropriate techniques and research. Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act

Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 487; Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo. Limits such research to stem cells that meet the following requirements: (1) the stem cells were derived from human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for the purposes of fertility treatment, and were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment; (2) prior to donation, it was determined that the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded; and (3) the individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the embryos with written informed consent and received no financial or other inducements. Requires the Secretary to develop techniques for the isolation, derivation, production, or testing of stem cells that are capable of producing all or almost all of the cell types of the developing body and may result in improved understanding of treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions, but that are not derived from a human embryo. Requires the Secretary to: (1) provide guidance concerning the next steps required for additional research; (2) prioritize research with the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefit; and (3) take into account techniques outlined by the President's Council on Bioethics and any other appropriate techniques and research.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 3751; Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2010 - Cosponsor

Amends the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 to revise provisions related to the National Cord Blood Inventory (the Inventory), including to establish an inventory goal of at least 150,000 new units of cord blood to be made available under the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program (the Program).

Session-110; Bill Number-S 5; Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo. Limits such research to stem cells that meet the following ethical requirements: (1) the stem cells were derived from human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics for the purpose of fertility treatment and were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment; (2) the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded; and (3) such individuals donate the embryos with written informed consent and receive no financial or other inducements.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 471; Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 876; Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Research Protection Act of 2005 - Cosponsor

A bill to prohibit human cloning and protect stem cell research.

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