Sen. Arlen Specter, suffering from cancer, said Monday he plans to take public his anger over the government's restrictions on funding for studies on human embryonic stem cells. Today Specter (R-Pa.), opens a Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee hearing on his bill to lift President Bush's restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.
Set to testify at the hearing are four scientists whose research -- to date neither published nor performed on human cells -- could receive federal funding as alternatives to using human embryonic stem cells.
President Bush halted federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, saying taxpayers should not be forced to fund research that many find immoral. Other senators agree and are considering offering as many as five alternatives to Specter's bill, preferring to finance science that meets their ethical standards even if it is in its infancy.
Specter said he will lift his self-imposed ban on discussing personal matters on the Senate floor and frame the debate in intimate terms, including a "long list of my medicines and my ailments."