Over 100 anti-abortionist campaigners in the US - led by Senator Sam Brownback (Republican, Kansas) and organised by the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in Illinois - released a statement arguing that human embryonic stem cell research is scientifically unnecessary and urging Congress to fund alternative work. The statement was released as debate on the issue heated up in Washington in anticipation of the expected publication this month of a report from the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Their report is expected to argue that both the extraction of stem cells from embryos (which involves the embryos' destruction) and research on stem cells are ethically acceptable for federal funding.
Frank Young, one of the signatories to the anti-abortion campaign's statement and a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under Ronald Reagan, compared the development of such tissue therapies from embryonic stem cells to the making of saddles from human skins by Nazi Germans. The statement claims recent research showing that stem cells isolated from adult tissues can give rise to differentiated cells removes the need to conduct research on embryonic stem cells. But John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said it was unproven that stem cells from adult tissue can generate all the tissues of the body and that it was essential to leave options open by pursuing embryonic stem cell research.