President Bush May Sign Executive Order Promoting Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 10
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — With the House of Representatives a day away from a major battle on whether to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, advisors for President Bush say he is considering signing an executive order promoting stem cell research that doesn’t involve the destruction of human life.

The White House Domestic Policy Council is slated to release a report today highlighting the progress and benefits of nonembryonic stem cell research.

The report will highlight a new study from researchers at Wake Forest University that found stem cells derived from amniotic fluid appear to offer many of the same benefits of embryonic stem cells.

A news report in the Wall Street Journal says that the report may be a precursor to a possible executive order promoting adult stem cell research.

White House spokesperson Tony Fratto didn’t give any details on the executive order but told the Journal, "[W]e are clearly working on ways we can direct whatever tools and funding we can" to stem cell research that doesn’t include killing days-old unborn children for their cells.

"We are exploring all the alternative science that maybe will make this question moot so we as a society do not have to deal with this moral grudge match," Fratto said.

The possible executive order is said to be in line with President Bush’s August 2001 policy prohibiting federal funding for new embryonic stem cell research.

A potential executive order could help Bush respond to critics who argue he doesn’t support innovative research or has done nothing to fund stem cell studies despite the hundreds of millions the NIH has invested in adult stem cell research.

It would also help him respond after a second possible vote of the Congressional embryonic stem cell research funding bill. The House is expected to approve its measure, HR 3, tomorrow and the Senate will likely follow suit later in the month.