DR. SHAPIRO: I'd like to welcome you all to Portland and introduce Senator Mark Hatfield, who is kind enough to make some opening remarks. Senator Hatfield was instrumental in the legislation that authorized this Commission. Senator Hatfield only has a few moments, but I invited him to say a few words to the Commission.
SENATOR HATFIELD: Thank you very much, Dr. Shapiro. First, I want to add a warm welcome to each of you for your presence here in Portland. Believe it or not, this little bump on the end of my nose was discovered to be malignant, a little skin cancer, not systemic. People ask me how do you get a skin cancer in Portland, or in Oregon. I want you to know we do have a considerable amount of sunshine in this state, as well as a beautiful green that's created by the rain. I am aware that this Commission has been under very severe stress in getting organized and getting moving. I will not go back to recount the tribulations that we had in the legislative role that I was privileged to play, except to say that Jack Gibbons, who later became the President's science advisor, and really was the great force in bringing forth this Executive Order, should be given the credit of midwifing this particular Commission. I don't think any of us would argue the point that with the advance of science and the rapid growth of so many new areas of science, that such a Commission is a vital part of our ongoing search for truth, and as well as the application of truth in science. I recall when some of the first genetic advances had been made. There was a call in New York City for clergymen from various and sundry faiths, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant. They met because they were concerned about the application of these new science discoveries and their relationship to ethics. One of the pronouncements they made was that perhaps we ought to halt this kind of science and the direction it's moving. I didn't think that many in the field of science would accept that as an offer of recommendation, or should we? We have had in the past the conflict between science and theology, apparent conflict. In the earlier days, it resolved on the side of theology from Galileo as one of the prime examples. But it was a conservative line, along with many of my colleagues, from the standpoint of not trying to stop science, but to consider the application of science and the role of ethics in that application. I think after the Executive Order was given to create this Commission, you had put upon you a very quick responsibility relating to human cloning. You have responded to that with five recommendations. I think that's the role that this Commission is to play. As you get into more specific papers and activities, I am sure that these other issues will come about with some recommendations as well. I have known the Genome Director, Dr. Francis Collins, and he was saying at the time this was being considered in Congress, we need this just in the genome project itself on the question of privacy of genetics. A woman is diagnosed as having breast cancer, or a man with prostate cancer, is that information private, or does that go to the insurance companies? Those are issues that are so obvious, that as you move into this, I want to congratulate you on the international conference that you held bringing all this together. Because it is not just a national interest, it's an international issue. Recognizing the diversity of cultures, and histories, and religions, and what have you, makes your job all the more complex. But I wish you well and I am very honored that we have Patricia Backlar representing two institutions here in Oregon as a member of this Commission. I have recognized Dr. Shapiro, and others of you whom I have met in the past and whose resumes I have read, I am just very proud to see the quality, extraordinary collection of talented people that will give us these answers. Now, I have two questions to you, Dr. Shapiro. In 1996, we—I chaired the Appropriations Committee, and we did something quite unusual. We normally do not pass the hat for funding any program around different agencies. But we had no option and we knew we had to launch this Commission, so we passed the hat around to different agencies. I am interested in knowing if you now have your own funding on your own merits and on your own feet.
DR. SHAPIRO: The answer to that is we're passing the hat on our own merits.
SENATOR HATFIELD: Well, that I am sure is something that creates a little sense of uneasiness. The second question I have is, I note that in the Executive Order that this Commission was to expire or sunset in October 1999. Have you gotten an indication about an extension of your life?
DR. SHAPIRO: We certainly have indication. We don't have all of the—it's not accomplished fact yet, but the indications there are pretty good.
SENATOR HATFIELD: Well, not only wishing you well on your life expectancy, but I wish you well on all of these great issues. Thank you very much for your courtesy in inviting me here today. Unless there are some questions I will leave and let you scientists and other extraordinary people get together and do your work.
DR. SHAPIRO: Well, thank you very much, Senator Hatfield. It's a great pleasure to have you here. Before you leave I do want to acknowledge not only your support for the kind of work the Commission is doing, but your support in health science in general for many, many years, which has strengthened that aspect of our society in innumerable ways. So, thank you very much, a great pleasure to have you here.
SENATOR HATFIELD: Thank you very much.
DR. SHAPIRO: Let's proceed with our agenda and turn to Eric for the Executive Director's report. Eric.