New Poll: Americans Oppose Tax Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 31, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Poll: Americans Oppose Tax Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 31, 2006

Washington, DC ( — As the Senate prepares to tackle legislation this summer that would use taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research, a new poll finds Americans oppose the idea. While some backers of the idea claim the public wants its money to be spent on the unproven research, the poll finds a plurality don’t.

Conducted by International Communications Research from May 19-23, the poll finds 48% of Americans oppose federal funding of stem cell research that requires destroying human embryos. Just 39% support such funding and another 12 percent had no position.

“Congress should not be misled on this important issue,” said Richard Doerflinger of the pro-life office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in response to the poll results. “Most Americans do not support federally funded research that requires destroying human embryos."

"Our opponents also know this," Doerflinger explained. "No doubt this is why their public statements — and many of their own opinion polls — either ignore or misrepresent what this research involves, while irresponsibly hyping its potential for miracle cures."

The poll also found that Americans favor stem cell research that does not involve the destruction of human life. Pro-life advocates oppose embryonic stem cell research, in part, because days-old unborn children must be killed to obtain their stem cells.

The ICR survey found 57% favored funding only the research avenues that do not harm the donor. Just 24% favored funding all stem cell research, including the type that involves destroying human embryos.

Another 11 percent of those polled didn’t want Congress to fund any kind of stem cell research and 7 percent didn’t have an opinion.

Pro-life groups also oppose embryonic stem cell research because adult stem cells have proven to be a more ethical and effective alternative. While embryonic stem cells have yet to find success in animal studies and have never been tried on humans, adult stem cells have already produced dozens of treatments and cures for patients.

The ICR poll has consistently shown Americans oppose using taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research over the last two years. At its highest levels in August 2004, only 43 percent wanted federal funds used.

The new poll also finds Americans strongly oppose human cloning.

Some 83 percent said they oppose human cloning to provide children for infertile couples and another 81 percent oppose it to produce human embryos who would be destroyed in medical research.

Opposition to human cloning has risen as the last ICR polls have shown a high of 77 percent of Americans opposing the practice.

In its survey, International Communications Research, a national research firm headquartered in Pennsylvania surveyed 1022 American adults by telephone. The poll has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

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