US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee's Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee, convened on April 26 the fifth in a series of hearings on the use of federal funds for research of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells. Directors from two of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Bethesda, MD) were joined by actor Christopher Reeve, who heads the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (Springfield, NJ), in arguing in favor of federal funding for such research. “Why has the use of discarded embryos for research suddenly become such an issue?” Reeve asked. “While we prolong the stem cell debate, millions continue to suffer.” On the other side, Mary Jane Owen, executive director of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities (Washington, DC), argued against using such embryos for research. Owen and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) both urged that non-embryonic stem cells, available from sources such as umbilical cords, be studied instead of embryonic stem cells.