Contact Paralinks: 07.20.06

Paraplegic politician blasts Bush on stem cell veto
Associated Press Writer

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. -- An author-turned-politician whose struggle with paralysis was the subject of a 2004 television movie directed by actor Christopher Reeve on Thursday criticized President Bush's decision to veto federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Bush cast the first veto of his 5 1/2-year presidency Wednesday, saying legislation easing limits on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research "crosses a moral boundary" and is wrong.

Brooke Ellison, who was left paralyzed from the neck down and ventilator-dependent after a 1990 car accident at the age of 11, said the president's decision runs counter to the desires of most Americans.

"Members of Congress from Maine to Hawaii owe it to their constituents to pursue life-saving scientific research," Ellison said at a Long Island press conference with David Paterson, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

"Not since the advent of antibiotics has there been so much promise on the medical horizon," she said. "Legislators who will let this unjust veto stand have turned their backs on anyone with cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or spinal cord injury. The cure for each of these ailments lies in stem cell research."

The veto came a day after the Senate defied Bush and approved the legislation, 63-37. White House officials and Republican congressional leaders claimed it was unlikely that Congress could override the veto.

Ellison, a Harvard graduate who is studying for a doctoral degree in political psychology at SUNY Stony Brook, is running as a Democrat for the state Senate from a district in Suffolk County.

"The Brooke Ellison Story," starring Lacey Chabert, was based on the book "Miracles Happen: One Mother, One Daughter, One Journey," written by Ellison and her mother, Jean Ellison.


Brooke Ellison: