by Steven Ertelt
March 22, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Because of his limits on using taxpayer funds to pay for any new embryonic stem cell research and their support of it, President Bush and pro-life groups are frequently accused of not supporting stem cell research in general. However, the president’s 2007 budget includes spending more than $600 million on the research.
Under the 2007 budget, the National Institutes of Health would spend $605 million on stem cell research.
Approximately 95 percent of the money would go towards adult stem cell research, which has already been responsible for producing dozens of cures and treatments for various diseases.
Some $38 million will be spent on 21 preexisting embryonic stem cell lines.
Under Bush’s August 2001 executive order, federal funds can only be spent on embryonic stem cell lines created before the order was put in place. That means no taxpayer funds can be spent on any new embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life.
Polls show Americans join scientists who say the use of adult stem cells should give patients more hope and they oppose using taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research.
An October 2005 Virginia Commonwealth University found that, when asked which type of stem cell research shows the greatest promise, 44 percent named adult stem cells, just 14 percent said embryonic stem cell research held the greatest promise and only 7 percent said both types hold equal promise.
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.
Despite the polls, lawmakers in Congress want to overturn President Bush’s limits on federal funding of research destroying human life.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told Bloomberg News that he’s trying to figure out how to allows votes on competing bills that would either overturn Bush’s limits or prohibit all forms of human cloning without having the debate become "a wedge issue that divides Republicans."
Frist said he wants "to be able to consider a range of bills and amendments” during any bioethics debate.
Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback, a leading pro-life lawmaker, said he thinks he has enough votes to uphold a filibuster against a bill to overturn Bush’s limits.
"These are the ones you just have to state a truth and stand by it,” he told Bloomberg News. "It’s human life. And I mean, that has to be stood up for.”