President Bush Would Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 20, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Would Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 20, 2005

Washington, DC ( — President Bush would veto a Congressional bill seeking to overturn his policy limiting federal funding for unproven embryonic stem cell research. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure, HB 810, next week and backers of the bill say they have enough votes to pass it.

"I’ve made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers’ money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life — I’m against that. And therefore if the bill does that, I will veto it," Bush told reporters during a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

White House officials on Thursday also confirmed the president would likely veto the bill.

Aides to the president say they’re concerned the measure could be approved by both the House and Senate by veto-proof margins, though pro-life lawmakers say they still have a shot at defeating the measure outright in the House.

Bush aides tell CNN that the president has no intention of changing his position against using taxpayer dollars to fund new embryonic stem cell research.

"If we were going to change our position, we would have done it during the campaign," one official said.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy added that Bush remains guided by "a principle that human life should not be created for the sole purpose of destroying it, and especially taxpayer dollars, public money, should not go for that type of practice that many, many, many Americans find morally offensive," Duffy said.

Officials also told CNN they may have First Lady Laura Bush speak out on the issue as she did during the 2004 elections.

Bush officials also told CNN that the president is not opposed to stem cell research and point to his spending $200 million on the use of adult stem cells. Coming from more ethical sources such as umbilical cord blood or bone marrow, adult stem cells have already produced dozens of treatments and cures.

Leading pro-life lawmakers are lining up behind the president and doing everything possible to defeat the bill in the House.

Rep. Dave Weldon, a doctor and Florida Republican, said those who want to find money for embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to cure any patients, can look elsewhere.

"Private individuals and private foundations can fund it," Weldon told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. "But there are millions of Americans who do not feel that is an appropriate use of their tax dollars."

The bill promotes destroying frozen embryos from fertility clinics to obtain stem cells.

However, Weldon said that even if every one of the current 400,000 frozen embryos were destroyed, only 275 embryonic stem cell lines would be obtained. That won’t be enough for research, Weldon says, and he worries that scientists will then look to human cloning to create more.