by Don C. Reed

Dear Friends:

Anti-research forces in Texas are trying to pull a fast one, to kill all hopes for embryonic stem cell research in the state, permanently. They are doing it two ways.

First, Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) “quietly” inserted a 24-word provision banning state funds for any form of embryonic stem cell research– into the Texas budget (SB 1). If the budget passes (which it must) as is, the research is effectively banned.

According to the Dallas Morning News, “The Senate finance committee, which Ogden heads, took only two minutes to consider his rider. It says, “No funds appropriated under this act shall be used in conjunction with or to support research which involves the destruction of a human embryo.”—R. T. Garrett, Dallas Morning News, March 30, 2009.

Senator Ogden did not allow research scientists or patient advocates to speak.

Afterwards, Ogden was asked if that provision would kill embryonic stem cell research in Texas. He reportedly responded, “If that one doesn’t, my next one will.”

Second, Senator Ogden’s bill, SB 1695, would “…end all embryonic stem cell research…in any of the laboratories of our state. Even private institutions like Baylor College of Medicine would be affected because they receive state funding.”—Texas research advocate Dr. Ralph Dittman, cited in Huffington Report.

Folks, the debate on the Texas budget begins Wednesday, which is TOMORROW.

Any chance you could make one phone call, to try and preserve Texas stem cell research? (Which, by the way, is very much worth fighting for; I will tell you later about some of the outstanding scientists in the Lone Star state.)

It doesn’t matter where you live. Texas voters have the most importance of course, but right now, the main thing is to make some noise. This is attack legislation– in a state which has the possibility of genuinely vast amounts of research, as much as three billion dollars for cancer alone. We dare not lose the enormous contributions of this vital state.

As always, Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research, TAMR, is leading the charge against this insidious infringement on research rights.

Friend Judy Haley, immediate past President of TAMR, says:

“This is the worst situation we have ever had… an emerging disaster. They (the rider to the budget, SB 1, and the bill, SB 1695–dr) would ban ALL hESC in Texas in any research facility that receives any state funding—(including) all our public and private labs. This would be a disaster, not only in Texas, but as a model for how to do it (damaging legislation) for the rest of the nation.”

Joe Brown, current President of TAMR suggests a message:

First, if you live in Texas:

Click on this link and enter your home address under “who represents me” to find your senator and their phone number.


“Stem cell research is important to me, to my family, and to millions of Texans; it is unacceptable for the Texas Legislature to pass any bill or rider which restricts embryonic stem cell research done under National Academy of Science ethical guidelines. I want Senator _____________ to actively work to make sure that neither SB 1’s prohibitive rider nor SB 1965 do not become part of Texas law.”

Don’t live in Texas?

Call anyway.

Three calls you could make:

1. David Dewhurst, President of the Senate and Lt. Governor: (512) 463-0001
2. Jim Pitts, Chairman of House Appropriations Committee: (512) 463-0516
3. Joe Straus, Speaker of the House: (512) 463-0516

Nothing fancy is required. Just tell whoever answers that you oppose the anti-embryonic stem cell research rider on the Texas budget this year, and also you oppose SB 1695.

You might even tell them why, maybe mentioning a condition which affects you or a loved one.

The opposition calls itself “right to life” people. But the way I see it, my sister Barbara has both cancer and leukemia, and she has a right to life as well.

Please make that phone call; it will take you five minutes, and it could make the difference.

To help heal our loved ones—stand tall for Texas today!

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