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Autism Speaks Mourns Arlen Specter

October 14, 2012

NEW YORK (October 14, 2012) -- Autism Speaks today mourned the passing of former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, citing his leadership in Congress for a strong federal funding role for health and autism research.

"We mourn the loss of Senator Specter, a driving force behind the significant increases in health research funding, including autism, during his 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate," said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks' executive vice poresident for programs and services. "Most recently, autism researchers benefitted from $122 million that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was largely due to the Senator's belief that strong scientific research enables people to live a better quality of life."

Specter, 82, died Sunday at his Philadelphia home from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The former Senator had battled Hodgkin’s disease and survived a brain tumor and heart bypass surgery. During the 1990s, Specter, a Republican, worked with Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, a Democrat, to substantially increase funding for the National Institutes of Health.