Canton Repository

January 12, 2007

Ohio’s Space pushes stem cells in House

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON Rep. Zack Space took to the floor of the House on Thursday to urge colleagues to vote for one of his pet causes — a bill that would lift restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

Space, D-Dover, shared the plight of his 16-year-old son Nicholas, who suffers from potentially devastating juvenile diabetes.

He said his son and others who have diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other diseases could benefit from treatments or cures discovered through stem-cell research.

“The measure before you does not destroy life, it potentially gives life to those who need it, and it affords purpose to embryos that are otherwise destined for destruction,” he said.

Most area lawmakers — including Rep. Ralph Regula — joined Space in voting for the bill, which passed the House 253-174.

President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation if it is also passed by the Senate.

In a statement Thursday, the administration charged the bill would “compel all American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos for the derivation of stem cells.”

Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, voted for a similar stem-cell bill last July. That legislation passed Congress but was vetoed by Bush.

Among area lawmakers, the only opponent of the latest version of the legislation was Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-St. Clairsville.

The self-described “pro-life Democrat” opposed the bill because embryonic stem-cell research results in the destruction of a human embryo, Wilson spokesman Jason Friedman said.

Space made overturning the limit on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research a priority of his campaign. Bush imposed the limit in 2001, restricting federally supported research to a few lines of cells that had already been produced.

Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and Betty Sutton, D-Copley, also voted for bill.