Majority of Americans Oppose Tax-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 16, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Majority of Americans Oppose Tax-Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 16, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A majority of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund controversial embryonic stem cell research, according to a new poll. The survey also found the public is significantly more interested in funding research that conforms to their moral views than research that relies on the destruction of human life.

The poll, by International Communications Research, found 52 percent oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research while just 36 percent support it.

The survey finds opposition to the unproven research growing as a similar poll conducted by the research firm in August found 47 percent to 43 percent opposed taxpayer funding.

Meanwhile, 60% favored funding only the research avenues that raise no moral problem, while 22% favored funding all stem cell research including the kind that involves destroying embryos.

The 2004 ICR poll found 61% to 23% favored moral stem cell research preferable to using human embryos.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sponsored the poll and Richard M. Doerflinger, deputy director of the USCCB’s pro-life office, said the results were important as Congress considers overturning President Bush’s limits on embryonic stem cell research funding.

"It is always wrong for government to promote the destruction of innocent human life," Doerflinger said. "To do so when a clear majority of the taxpayers themselves reject this approach would be especially irresponsible."

Doerflinger said it was important that members of Congress ignore other polls with misleading polling questions.

"Congress should not be misled on this important issue," said Doerflinger. "Most Americans oppose federal funding of research which requires destroying human embryos."

Other polls have found similar results.

In an August 2004 poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, 53 percent of respondents said that they opposed “using tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos,” while only 38 percent supported it.

In August 2001, President Bush prohibited using taxpayer funds for any new embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life.

Instead, the President authorized the National Institutes of Health to spend more than $190 million on the use of adult stem cells. Such research, considered more ethical, has already produced dozens of treatments for various cures and ailments.

The new poll’s questions were part of a national survey conducted by International Communications Research, which polled over one thousand American adults by telephone May 6-11.

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