Poll: Americans Oppose Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 23, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll: Americans Oppose Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 23, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com)
— A new poll shows that more Americans oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. That puts them at odds with some lawmakers and the biotech lobby which has been pressuring President Bush to overturn his policy preventing taxpayer funding of any new embryonic research.

The survey, conducted by International Communications Research, shows 47 percent of Americans oppose federal funding for embryonic stem cell research while 43 percent support it.

That might make it seem as if Americans are divided on whether they want their tax dollars to pay for research involving the destruction of human embryos or research using adult stem cells.

However, when given a choice between funding all stem cell research (embryonic and adult) or just adult stem cells, Americans said they prefer funding adult stem cell research by a 61 to 23 percent margin.

The poll also shows that Americans overwhelmingly (80 to 13 percent) oppose the position taken by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry — that human cloning should be allowed to create human embryos only to be destroyed for their stem cells.

"Cloning embryos for their stem cells is the logical next step in the embryonic stem cell research agenda," says Richard Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

The findings stand in stark contrast to a recent Harris Poll which found that 73 percent of respondents favor embryonic stem cell research and only 11 percent opposing the grisly practice.

But pro-life advocates such as Doerflinger, criticized the Harris Poll for leaving out key information form their question.

"Polls on embryonic stem cell research often fail to mention that the research requires destroying human embryos," Doerflinger said. "Yet this fact is essential to understanding the moral issue."

Doerflinger said some polls, like the Harris Poll, "make exaggerated claims about the (hypothetical) medical benefits of embryonic cells" while ignoring the success of adult stem cell research.

According to the poll, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, opposition to funding embryonic stem cell research is strongest among women, lower-income groups, senior citizens and those who attend church regularly.

Americans also oppose the use of human cloning, 82 to 11 percent, to provide children to infertile couples.

International Communications Research, a national research firm headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania, conducted the poll. A weighted sample of 1001 American adults was surveyed by telephone August 13-17, 2004, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

Related web sites:
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – https://www.usccb.org