Senator Starts Petition Drive For Tax $ for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Starts Petition Drive For Tax $ for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 2, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A leading senator behind the push to use taxpayer funds to pay for unproven embryonic stem cell research has begun a national petition drive to obtain further support for the effort.

California Senate Diane Feinstein started the campaign last week as a response to Ron Reagan’s speech urging Democrats to cast their vote for a candidate who favors the destructive research.

"An overwhelming majority of Americans support embryonic stem cell research, and it is time that the White House take note of their concerns," Feinstein claimed in a statement encouraging people to sign the petition.

In August 2001, President Bush announced a policy preventing the use of federal funds from the Health and Human Services Department for any new embryonic stem cell research.

Feinstein’s petition backs legislation to overturn Bush’s policy, though House and Senate leaders say no bill overturning the Bush funding prohibition will receive a vote until next year.

But pro-life advocates encourage activists to make their views known.

"It is important for pro-life citizens to tell their federal representatives that they support President Bush’s policy against funding research that requires the killing of human embryos," Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life, told

In May, 58 Senators and 206 Representatives, representing both parties, signed letters encouraging President Bush to reverse his policy against federal funding

However, a Bush spokesman said the president wouldn’t compromise on the issue because Bush "is committed to expanding our country’s proud record in scientific achievements while upholding the highest standards of ethics."

Bush-Cheney ’04 spokeswoman Sharon Castillo told, that President Bush "believes that we must achieve a balance between medical research and the ability to build a culture of life and respect for human dignity."

Feinstein, a Democrat, is also a leading sponsor of legislation, along with Utah senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican, that would allow scientists to clone human embryos for the sole purpose of destroying them to obtain their stem cells.

"It is wrong to create human life just to destroy it, yet that is exactly what is being proposed by those who support human cloning for research purposes," Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The fact that Ron Reagan, Jr. did not even mention adult stem cell research, with all its recent successes, proves that despite his comments to the contrary, his was a purely political speech supporting human cloning," Brownback added.

Brownback is the leading Senate sponsor of a bill that has passed in the House of Representatives that would ban all forms of human cloning — including the "clone and kill" process Feinstein’s bill supports.

Pro-life groups also oppose the legislation and the process saying that unique human beings in their earliest stages of life are killed and that alternatives such as adult stem cell research are available and have proven more effective in clinical trials.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry signed on as a co-sponsor of the Feinstein-Hatch bill in July.

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