President Bush Still Opposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 9, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Still Opposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 9, 2004

Washington, DC ( — First Lady Laura Bush says President Bush is still opposed the use of embryonic stem cells in research, despite lobbying from the research community and Nancy Reagan.

Though an increasing number of people will contract the diseases scientists claim embryonic stem cells could cure, "We need to balance the interest in science with moral issues," Mrs. Bush said on NBC’s "Today" show.

In another interview, Bush reiterated the president’s position that science and ethics must be combined very carefully.

"We have to be really careful between what we want to do for science and what we should do ethically and the stem cell issue is certainly one of those issues that we need to treat very carefully," Mrs. Bush said on "The Early Show" on CBS.

Pro-life groups point to the lack of success with embryonic stem cells.

Initial trials involving fetal stem cells have proven disastrous, with some patients going into convulsions following injections of embryonic stem cells. The results have been so devastating, in fact, that some scientists are calling for a halt to all embryonic stem cell research.

Groups opposing abortion say destroying unborn children for research reduces human beings to commodities, then discarded. They point to adult stem cell research, which has already proven successful in clinical trials in curing diseases or reducing effects of them.

The First Lady agreed that ethical alternatives are available that can lead to cures for diseases.

On ABC’s "Good Morning America," Mrs. Bush referred to alternatives to "abusing embryos" in research. "There are stem cell embryos ready that people can use for research, but it’s a very delicate line," she said.

Meanwhile, a leading media watchdog group says journalists covering the death of former president Ronald Reagan are exploiting his passing in order to promote embryonic stem cell research.
According to a report from the Media Research Center, news agencies are using Reagan’s death to fuel a rift between President George W. Bush and former first lady Nancy Reagan.

"Serious people have serious disagreements about the balancing of the hope stem cell research holds for curing Alzheimer’s versus the misuse of human life, but to leading media figures it presents just another way to bash Bush," says MRC’s Brent Baker.

On Sunday, Washington Post television reviewer Tom Shales complained about how "Bush has refused to reconsider his opposition" to providing taxpayer funding for any new embryonic stem cell research, and ridiculed how "Bush thinks he hears Jesus giving him orders."

In August 2001, President Bush put forward an administrative policy prohibiting taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research.

Although, as a pro-life president, Ronald Reagan would have had a similar policy, Nancy Reagan has joined the stem cell research lobby in pushing for public funds for the research that destroys unborn children in their earliest days.