White House: President Bush to Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 17, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

White House: President Bush to Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 17, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The White House released an emphatic statement on Monday, as the Senate began its debate on a bill to use taxpayer funds for pay for embryonic stem cell research, saying President Bush will definitely veto the bill because the funds would pay for science that destroys human life.

The Senate is expected to approve the bill with the 60 votes it needs when it votes on the measure Tuesday afternoon. However, whether it has enough votes to overturn a veto is in question.

"If [the legislation] were presented to the president, he would veto the bill,” the official statement of administration policy said. Officials underlined the sentence in the statement for greater emphasis.

"The bill would compel all American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos for the derivation of stem cells, overturning the president’s policy that funds research without promoting such ongoing destruction,” it said.

The Monday announcement squares with comments a White House spokesman made at the end of last week.

"The legislation crosses an important moral line and if presented with the legislation — the president would veto" it," Ken Lisaius said Thursday.

The announcement comes after lawmakers sough to put addition pressure on the president not to veto the measure.

Rep. Michael Castle, a Delaware Republican who was one of the leading sponsors of the embryonic stem cell research funding bill in the House, wrote a letter to the president on Thursday asking Bush to reconsider his plan to veto the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has said he doesn’t know if the Senate will have enough votes to overturn the veto.

The Senate appears to be more likely to come up with the two-thirds vote necessary to overturn the veto. The House was more than 50 votes away from a two-thirds vote when it signed off on the embryonic stem cell research funding bill in May 2005, but bill backers say they plan to have a vote to attempt to overturn the veto.

The Senate began its debate on the funding bill Monday and is scheduled to vote on it and two other bills on Tuesday afternoon.

Those include a ban on "fetal farming" and a measure instructing the federal government to find alternative ways of obtaining embryonic stem cells that don’t involve the destruction of human life.

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.

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