by Steven Ertelt
March 25, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Years of international debate has led up to this point — a vote on Congress on whether to overturn President Bush’s limits on using tax dollars to destroy human embryos for research.
House leaders have agreed to allow a vote, in the next two to three months, on a bill that is opposed by pro-life lawmakers and groups because it okays using federal funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research.
The vote would be the first on the topic since President Bush announced his stem cell research funding policy in August 2001.
While the president limited using tax dollars to fund embryonic stem cells, he authorized more than $190 million on adult stem cell research, which has already produced dozens of cures and treatments.
In comments to LifeNews.com, Douglas Johnson made it clear that pro-life advocates who don’t want their money used to destroy human life need to speak up.
"Citizens who do not want their tax dollars used to pay for research that kills human embryos had better convey their views to their congressional representatives, because those lawmakers are hearing plenty from the other side," Johnson said.
Sponsors of the legislation are delighted to finally get a vote on their bill.
"We’re very pleased," said Rep. Michael Castle, a Delaware Republican. “This is an indication they recognize the importance of this.”
Castle is co-sponsoring the bill with Colorado Democrat Diane DeGette and their legislation has 181 other sponsors.
The measure would allow researchers to use federal funds to destroy human embryos from fertility clinics to obtain their stem cells.
Pro-life groups say they will work overtime to defeat the bill.
"I look forward to the opportunity to help defeat it," Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Washington Post. "Then we can set aside this silly obsession and concentrate on things that are actually working for patients."
Even if they get passed the House, which is no guarantee, the bill would likely face a filibuster threat from pro-life lawmakers in the Senate. If it somehow passes Congress, President Bush will almost assuredly veto it and backers do not have the two-thirds vote necessary to override the veto.
According to the Post, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president is not going to change his mind on his stem cell research funding policy.
"President Bush implemented a policy that allows for federal funding … in a way that does not cross an important moral line," she said. "He also supports adult stem cell research, which is showing great promise."
ACTION: Contact your member of Congress at 202-224-3121 and express your opposition to the Castle-Degette bill. You can also take action by going to https://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=7087186