Dean and Clark Disagree With President Bush on Stem Cell Research

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 9, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Dean and Clark Disagree With President Bush on Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 9, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidates Howard Dean and Wesley Clark said today they disagreed with President Bush on stem cell research.

In August 2001, Bush put in place a policy prohibiting the federal funding of any embryonic stem cells created after that point. Most of the Democratic candidates for president have previously said they would reverse the decision, including Joe Lieberman, who indicated that would be his first action if elected president.

On Friday, Howard Dean bashed Bush saying that Bush inappropriately used his Christian religious beliefs in instituting the funding limits.

"I think we ought to make scientific decisions, not theological and theoretical decisions,” Dean told voters at a town hall meeting, according to the Associated Press. "I think that what the president did on stem-cell research was based on his religious beliefs and I think that is wrong.”

In his August 2001 speech, Bush indicated he made his decision based on a number of factors.

Before making the decision, Bush said he asked the opinion of "scientists, scholars,
bioethicists, religious leaders, doctors, researchers, members of Congress, my Cabinet and my friends."

"I also believe human life is a sacred gift from our Creator," Bush explained. "I worry about a culture that devalues life, and believe as your president I have an important obligation to foster and encourage respect for life in America and throughout the world."

Ultimately, Bush said the country shouldn’t be "crossing a fundamental moral line by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos."

Dean told the New Hampshire voters that he would allow such funding as president because his nephew, who has diabetes, could benefit from it.

Dorie Clark, a Dean spokeswoman, said stem cell research is a medical issue that "should be made on science" and not based on religion. Clark said Dean was qualified to make decisions about such funding because of his professional background as a doctor.

Meanwhile, Wesley Clark said he would give embryonic stem cell research a top priority.

Clark, too, promises that one of his first actions, if elected president, would be reversing Bush’s funding limits on embryonic stem cells. Clark claims Bush’s policy jeopardizes people’s lives and limits the search for cures to diseases.

However, pro-life advocates say that the lives of unborn humans shouldn’t be sacrificed to find cures. They also point to adult stem cell research as a more ethical and effective alternating. Thus far, no one has been cured from embryonic stem cells while the use of adult stem cells has both cured and reduced the ailments of many patients.

According to the Associated Press, Clark also indicated, in a speech to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, that he supports a ban on all human cloning.

Most proponents of embryonic stem cell research oppose a total ban that is currently in Congress. Sponsored by pro-life Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), the complete ban has passed the House of Representatives but has languished in the Senate.

In a speech in December, John Kerry blasted President Bush’s "anti-science attitude" attitude saying he has hindered progress of embryonic stem cell research.