President Bush Prefers Adult Stem Cell Research Bill, Aide Says

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Prefers Adult Stem Cell Research Bill, Aide Says Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 23, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The House of Representatives will vote on competing stem cell research bills with one deigned to overturn President Bush’s limits on embryonic stem cell research funding and another to boost more promising adult stem cells. A White House spokesman says Bush supports the latter.

President Bush has already indicated he will veto HR 810, the embryonic funding bill and a White House spokesman indicated Friday that President Bush prefers the adult stem cell bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.

"The White House is looking favorably on legislation that would maintain the President’s principle that human life should not be created for the sole purpose of destroying it," Trent Duffy, deputy press secretary, explained.

"We do believe that there is a lot of promise in some of the research in cord blood, as well as adult stem cells … So the President strongly supports that kind of research," Duffy added.

"We need to look at the specifics of the kind of bill that’s being discussed on cord blood, but we think that that has some real promise," Duffy said

On Friday, Bush said he would veto HR 810, though 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.

Weighing in on the stem cell research debate on Monday, Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of ailing evangelical minister Billy Graham, said cures and treatments must not be pursued at any cost.

"I have a father who has Parkinson’s disease, I have a son who has cancer. I have a mother who has degenerative arthritis. I have a husband who has diabetes. I would not want any one of my family members to benefit from the willful destruction of another human life. An embryo, as tiny as it is, is still a human life created in the image of God," she said.

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.