Bush Spokesman, Reporter Fiercely Debate Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 18, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bush Spokesman, Reporter Fiercely Debate Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 18
, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — During a testy exchange with reporters, White House press secretary Tony Snow strongly defended the stance of President George W. Bush on the issue of embryonic stem cell research funding.

Snow indicated the president is a backer of leading scientific research even though he won’t fund new research that destroys human life.

One unnamed reported asked Snow whether the president had any comment on Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin inviting Michael J. Fox for the State of the Union address.

Snow said the White House had no comment because it wasn’t aware of the invitation.

"It’s the first I’ve heard about it, so there’s no official response. Look, we understand that — no President has spent more on stem cell research. We’re absolutely committed to it," Snow responded.

"There’s quite often a regrettable implication that in opposing [embryonic] stem cell research — which, in the President’s view, involves the taking of a human life — that he shut off stem cell research. As a matter of fact, we’ve spent unprecedented amounts of money looking at all forms of stem cell research," Snow explained.

"Furthermore, the President has not outlawed, as often as seemed to be alleged — he’s not outlawed embryonic stem cell research," Snow added. "States have set aside money for doing it. Individuals continue to provide venture capital for it. But the President believes that American taxpayers should not have to make the fateful decision of asking themselves, does this come at the price of a human life."

The reporter continued with the questions about the invitation.

"But do you think that the State of the Union is the place for Michael J. Fox and Congressman Langevin to advocate, by their presence, embryonic stem cell research," the reported asked.

"I’m not going to try to give lectures on etiquette," Snow replied.

"Members may invite whomever they wish. And the President understands that all these are important issues, and they’re important to us, too," Snow said. "We want to get them right; we want to have a debate; and we want to try to move it from the level where people try to describe as heartless a President whose heart is absolutely in saving lives through stem cell research."

"Okay, I understand. I understand. You continue to say you want debates on all — on many issues. But will you listen to the words of the opposition?" the reported shot back. "That’s the question."

"Yes. And will the opposition listen to us? That’s also the question," Snow replied.

"When the opposition says that we’re opposed to stem cell research, it is wrong. And when the opposition says the President does not care about stem cell research, it is wrong," Snow said.

"So the question also is whether people will look at what the President does and not only give credit, but at least acknowledge what has been done by this federal government in trying to unlock the potential of stem cells to save human lives," Snow concluded.

The House of Representatives recently approved legislation that would overturn Bush’s policy against funding new embryonic stem cell research and force taxpayers to pay for it. The Senate is slated to vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

However, the House vote was well short of the two-thirds vote needed to overturn a veto, which the president has promised to do.