White House Advisor: Bush Will Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

White House Advisor: Bush Will Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 11, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush has threatened to veto a measure the Senate is expected to vote on any day now that would overturn his limits on using taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research. White House spokesmen have confirmed the president will veto the bill and top Bush advisor Karl Rove said Tuesday a veto is certain.

Speaking to the editorial board of the Denver Post newspaper, Rove said, "The president is emphatic about this [issue.]"

The House has already approved the measure, sponsored in part by Republican Rep. Michael Castle of Delaware. The Senate vote is expected later this week or next week.

Rove indicated he thinks the Senate will approve the funding bill with more than 60 votes "and as a result the president would, as he has previously said emphatically, veto the Castle bill."

"We were all an embryo at one point, and we ought to as a society be very careful about being callous about the wanton destruction of embryos, of life," Rove said, according to the Post. He said research shows "we have far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells."

President Bush has limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to only those cells that were obtained prior to August 2001, when he announced his policy. Bush has prohibited funds for new embryonic stem cell research but has spent hundreds of millions of dollars annually on adult stem cell research, which has yielded dozens of treatments for various diseases and conditions.

Should Bush veto the bill it would be his first veto in either of his terms in office.

A veto is good news for pro-life advocates because Congress would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override it. While the Senate may be able to come up with the 67 votes necessary to do that, the House is nowhere close to a veto override majority.

However, Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who also sponsored the bill on the House said, has indicated she would press for the House to try to override the veto.

In addition to the funding measure, senators will vote on two bills that enjoy support from the pro-life community.

One would prohibit the practice known as "fetal farming," where human embryos are specifically implanted in a woman’s womb for the sole purpose of killing them days later for their stem cells. The other would call on the National Institutes of Health to look into possible avenues of obtaining embryonic stem cells without destroying human life.

Under the agreement, all three bills require 60 votes to be approved, rather than the normal majority of those voting.

Polls show Americans oppose using taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research, which is nowhere close to helping patients. Adult stem cells have provided dozens of cures and treatments.

An International Communications Research poll in mid-May 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.

The poll also found that Americans favor stem cell research that does not involve the destruction of human life.

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.

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.

ACTION: Please contact your two senators and urge strong opposition to using taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research. You can find phone and email contact info for any senator at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm