Prayer group helps defeat Delaware stem-cell legislation


In an 11th-hour vote, Delaware's General Assembly overwhelmingly defeated Senate Bill 5, which would have authorized the use of human embryos in medical experiments.

The bill was defeated by a vote of 30 to 7. The vote was called at 10:30 p.m. on June 30, in the last hours before Delaware's General Assembly closed for the summer.

More than 50 members of A Rose and a Prayer, an interfaith grassroots group, assembled at Legislative Hall Saturday night to express their support to legislators who voted against the bill.

Ellen Barrosse, a founder of A Rose and a Prayer, said the bill was defeated because state representatives heard from tens of thousands of Delawareans who are against embryo-destructive research.

In an effort to defeat the bill, A Rose and a Prayer organized regular prayer vigils since January, mobilized tens of thousands of Delawareans to call their legislators, and delivered more than 4,000 roses to Legislative Hall, each labeled with the name of a constituent who opposed the bill.

Dr. Mary McCrossan, a physician and member of the group, said science has overtaken what was proposed in the bill.

"The exciting news this month that skin cells have been reprogrammed to their embryonic state, without the need for human cloning or embryo destruction, makes Senate Bill 5 simply unnecessary," McCrossan said in a statement.

Stephen E. Jenkins, Esq., president of A Rose and a Prayer, is hopeful Delawareans will not have to face a similar bill again.

This is the second time A Rose and a Prayer has mobilized to help defeat legislation that would have legalized human embryonic stem cell research in Delaware. The group intends to take its work further. A Rose and a Prayer intends to hire an executive director and other staff this summer, and establish an office in Wilmington.