White House: President Bush Opposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

White House: President Bush Opposes Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 14, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Despite pressure from members of the Senate and Nancy Reagan, a White House spokesman says President Bush will not go back on his position against federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research.

"The president came up with a policy that will allow us to explore the promise of stem-cell research, and do so in a way that doesn’t cross a certain moral threshold that he set," Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said in a White House briefing on Monday.

McClellan said that President Bush still believed the policy he created in an August 2001 executive order is still the right one.

"The president doesn’t believe we should be creating life for the sole purpose of destroying life," McClellan explained.

He added that scientists "are still at a phase where we are conducting the basic research so that we can better understand the promise of stem-cell research. There’s a lot we don’t know at this point."

Some 58 members of the Senate — including likely Democratic nominee John Kerry — sent a letter to Bush one day before the death of President Ronald Reagan. They argued Bush’s policy is impeding the progress of research.

Bush’s refesual to flip-flop on the issue drew praise from Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and president of Campaign for Working Families.

"Ronald Reagan’s body was barely in the ground before those who support embryonic stem cell research tried to use his death to promote this questionable research," Bauer explained. "Those of us who worked closely with him know what his reaction would have been to such ideas."

"On this issue the best way for President Bush to honor Ronald Reagan is to not budge," Bauer said.

Pro-life advocates argue that embryonic stem cell research has been conducted and not been as successful as research employing adult stem cells. No patients have been cured of any diseases as a result of embryonic stem cell research while adult stem cells have already proven effective in clinical trials in reducing the effects of some diseases and conditions.

"Ethical research, using stem cells from adults, is much closer to producing useable therapies," National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson told LifeNews.com.

"President Bush deserves strongly commendation for refusing to allow the government to cross a fundamental ethical line by supporting research that would kill human embryos, which is what John Kerry and some others are demanding," Johnson added.