In response to the Oct. 7 editorial "Miracle Cells" and the Oct. 9 front-page article "Stem Cell Discovery Grows Into a Debate": Congress outlawed federal funding for harmful embryo research in 1995 and has maintained that prohibition ever since. Funds cannot be used for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

During Senate consideration of the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education appropriations bill this year, the Appropriations Committee considered a partial lifting of the embryo research ban in order to facilitate the derivation of stem cells from embryos, as well as report language stating Congress's agreement with the HHS ruling. The committee rejected both provisions.

The Post did not report the committee's work. The Post also did not mention that the "legal" opinion written by Health and Human Services supposedly providing legal protection for destructive embryo research was written by the former legal director of the National Abortion Rights Action League, making somewhat suspect its statement that "stem cells are something altogether outside familiar pro-choice and pro-life categories."

Advances in adult stem cell research show more promise than those in destructive embryo research. We should focus our attention on legitimate research, not the illegal, illegitimate and immoral research the administration proposes.

We must fight to cure disease. However, it is never acceptable to kill one innocent human being in order to help another. The responsible choice is for government to serve human life in ways that do not destroy life.


U.S. Senator (R-Kan.)