Senator Says John Kerry Wrong to Say Bush "Banned" Stem Cell Funding

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 11, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Says John Kerry Wrong to Say Bush "Banned" Stem Cell Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 11, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life senator is taking issue with remarks made by Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on the issue of embryonic stem cell research. Over the weekend, Kerry said that Bush had imposed a "ban" on federal funding of the unproven research.

In his party’s weekly radio address on Saturday, Kerry told listeners that he would "lift the ban" on stem cell research funding. Kerry also said potential cures for numerous diseases are at jeopardy "because of the stem cell ban."

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican, said Kerry’s remarks were inaccurate.

"It is a completely false statement to call it a ban," Brownback said.

"The president strongly supports, and has funded, adult stem cell research work, umbilical cord research work — and embryonic stem-cell research work, where the life and death decision on the embryo was made prior to the administration policy being established three
years ago," Brownback said, according to Family News in Focus.

In August 2001, President Bush put in place an executive order prohibiting taxpayer funding of any new embryonic stem cell research conducted prior to that point.

The decision left open funding for the use of adult stem cells and federal funding for embryonic stem cells that had already been extracted from human embryos prior to Bush’s election.

"There is no ban, and indeed there has been $25 million spent on embryonic research work," Brownback added.

"There is no ban, and never was, on stem cell research," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, says.

"The President’s decision related only to federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research," Perkins explained. "President Bush maintained the prohibition that had been in place since 1996 which did not allow the government to pay for the destruction of human embryos in order to create stem cell lines for research."

Brownback has been the lead sponsor of a ban on all forms of human cloning — including both reproductive uses as well as the clone-and-kill method that some researchers want to use to create human embryos only to be destroyed for their stem cells.

Kerry supports the clone-and-kill method and has co-sponsored a bill that allows it and also bans reproductive human cloning. Pro-life groups oppose that legislation.