Embryonic Stem Cell Research Backers: We Can Override Bush Veto

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 30, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Backers of embryonic stem cell research in the Senate say they have enough votes to override a veto by President Bush of legislation that would spend taxpayer funds on the unproven research that involves destroying human life.

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter points to the 58 members of the Senate who previously signed a letter to the president urging him to revise his stem cell research policies, which favor the use of adult stem cells.

Specter said supporters of the embryonic stem cell research bill should be able to find the 67 votes needed to override a veto, and maybe more.

"And there are 20 more in the wings who didn’t want to put their names on the letter, who I think would vote to override a veto," Specter said Sunday on ABC’s "This Week."

While enough votes to override a veto may materialize in the Senate, the House approved the funding measure and is 50 votes away from reaching the number needed there. Even Delaware Republican Michael Castle acknowledge there was no way to override a veto in the House.

"The concept of that many people changing their minds is not realistic," Castle admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

With that in mind, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a possible 2008 presidential contender, told ABC’s "This Week" the Senate should instead move forward on approving a bill passed almost unanimously in the House.

That measure would provide funds for collecting adult stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

"I’ve been taught a lot of lessons from the Democrats lately, so I’ve got some ideas on how one can get this done," Brownback said. "And I think it’s important that we move forward."

Brownback indicated he would use every procedural option available to him to prevent making taxpayer pay for research that destroys human life and hasn’t yielded results in 20 years.

"I have conveyed to Senate leadership that we must do everything we can procedurally to stop unethical embryonic stem cell research in the Senate," he said.

To drum up more support for the embryonic stem cell research bill, Specter said supporters should consider a march on Washington because it would "turn a lot of people in the Congress who will look to see what their constituents are demanding."

But polls show most Americans don’t want their money to be used for embryonic stem cell research.

A May 2005 poll by International Communications Research, found 52 percent oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research while just 36 percent support it.

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.