Pro-Life Groups Ask President Bush to Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 19, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Ask President Bush to Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 19, 2006

Washington, DC ( — With the Senate approving a measure to use federal taxpayer dollars to pay for embryonic stem cell research, pro-life groups are urging President Bush to veto it. The White House previously indicated the president would be likely to veto the bill and another Bush spokesman said Wednesday that a veto is forthcoming.

Lanier Swann, the director of government relations for Concerned Women for America said the president should veto the bill because money should be directed to more ethical and effective research.

“Taxpayers deserve to have their money fund a proven medical practice that has boasted real results, rather than subsidizing immoral embryonic stem-cell research that, to this day, has not yielded results," Swann said.

"The course of action should be clear: Time and money will be best spent focusing on the continued advancement and medical breakthroughs that result from the use of adult stem cells," Swann added.

William May, the chairman of Catholics for the Common Good agreed, asking the president to "veto this macabre piece of legislation."

On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush would do just that.

"The president has had a clear principled stand on this issue since August of 2001 and he has made clear from the beginning that if this bill came to him he would veto it and so this is what he’s going to do today," Perino said.

"He made this determination after considerable thought,” Perino said today. "What he would refuse to do is to end a human life at its earliest existence… The president has said that the moral line he will not cross is having federal dollars pay for such research.”

"I think that the president has always said, since August of 2001, that he would veto this bill,” Perino said. "Whether this was going to be his first veto, or his 10th veto, it was going to be a veto…He promised he would veto it, and that’s what he’s doing.”

The president is slated to appear at the White House with families of adopted embryos — often called snowflakes.

Once he vetoes the bill, the House will take the veto up for consideration, but it’s not expected to have the two-thirds vote needed to reverse the president. Last May, when the House approved the bill, it voted 238-194 — more than 50 votes short.

House Majority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, indicated Tuesday that "I expect that the House will sustain the president’s veto."

"I think that we will be able to sustain it,” Perino added.

Advocates of embryonic stem cell research lamented that prospect.

"The unfortunate part is, if the president does veto the bill, then it sets us back a year or so until we can finally pass a bill that will have the requisite supermajority to be able to become law," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican. "And that sets back embryonic stem cell research another year or so."

Should the House find enough votes to override, the Senate would likely still be unable to override the veto as well. It approved the embryonic stem cell research funding measure yesterday on a 63-37 vote, four short of the two-thirds needed.

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: Contact President Bush and encourage him to veto HR 810, the measure that uses federal taxpayer dollars to pay for embryonic stem cell research. You can contact information at

See how your senator voted on the bill.