One year ago today, the U.S. House of Representatives gave hope to the 100 million Americans who suffer from serious medical conditions by overwhelmingly voting to repeal Bush administration restrictions on stem cell research.
To the dismay of patients and their families, the legislation has been stalled in the U.S. Senate for the past twelve months by right-wing ideologues.
Americans are united in their support for this vital research, which holds the promise to cure and treat cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and spinal cord injuries.
Bush's closest allies in Washington -- Senators Rick Santorum, Mike DeWine, and Sam Brownback -- have kept the restrictions in place, blocking the life-saving research from moving forward.
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The case in favor of lifting the restrictions is hard to deny.
A number of recent studies shows the dramatic effect of stem cell therapy in the lab, but patients won't be able to see the benefits with current restrictions in place.
The courageous work of the late Dana and Christopher Reeve and many other patient advocates has built a sizable majority of Americans calling for the expansion of stem cell research.
A poll conducted this month by the non-partisan Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research shows that 72% of Americans support advancing stem cell research.
Stem cell research was once considered controversial. But after considering the ethical and medical merits of the research, a majority of worshipers in almost every faith in America now supports it.
A September 2005 survey by the Genetics and Public Policy Center found 74% of Protestants and 69% of Catholics are in favor of expanding stem cell research. Almost half of all evangelicals and fundamentalists shared the same view.
The potential for stem cell research to cure a variety of serious disorders has caused many prominent Republicans to rethink their stance on the issue.
A bipartisan group of Senators, which includes pro-choice members Ted Kennedy and Tom Harkin and pro-life members Orrin Hatch and Gordon Smith, all support the House bill.
Nancy Reagan helped cross the partisan divide when she made an urgent plea to take stem cell research out of the political debate shortly before her husband's death from Alzheimer's in 2004.
"Science has presented us with a hope called stem cell research, which may provide our scientists with many answers that for so long have been beyond our grasp," the former first lady said. "I just don't see how we can turn our backs on this."
The truth is that if the stem cell research bill came to the Senate floor for a vote today, it would pass.
A few extremists on the Republican side have been allowed to keep this vital research from moving forward.
The life-saving benefits of stem cell research have become an issue in my race for the U.S. Senate in Ohio.
I was an original co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 in the House. My opponent, Republican incumbent Mike DeWine, opposes embryonic research under all conditions, and has helped block the vote in the U.S. Senate.
Senator DeWine has changed his position on other issues. I don't see any reason why he can't do the same for stem cell research.
Ohio families shouldn't have to wait till next January for a new U.S. Senator to vote the right way. We need to change course today.
Expanding stem cell research is our best hope to develop treatments for cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's, hemophilia, juvenile diabetes, and many, many more conditions.
Sign the petition to tell Mike DeWine to end the standoff on stem cell research.