THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
(Auckland, New Zealand)


For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 13, 1999

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

        Today, my National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) delivered its report on, "Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research." Because of the enormous medical potential of such research, I asked the NBAC in November, 1998, to look at the ethical and medical issues surrounding human stem cell research. The scientific results that have emerged in just the past few months already strengthen the basis for my hope that one day, stem cells will be used to replace cardiac muscle cells for people with heart disease, nerve cells for hundreds of thousands of Parkinsonís patients, or insulin-producing cells for children who suffer from diabetes.

        The issues addressed by the NBAC's recommendations are complex and difficult. The Commissioners are to be commended for the thoroughness with which they engaged in this discussion and the national dialogue that they facilitated, seeking the views and opinions of virtually every segment of our society, including scientists, patients, scholars from most of the major religions in the United States, lawyers, philosophers, ethicists and the public.

        I want to thank Dr. Harold Shapiro, Chairman of the NBAC, and other Commissioners for a thoughtful report that will contribute significantly to the efforts of my Administration as we establish the highest ethical standards for the conduct of human stem cell research.

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