by Steven Ertelt
April 12, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading pro-life organizations were disappointed by a Senate vote Wednesday to approve a bill requiring the federal government to spend public money on embryonic stem cell research but delighted that the bill passed without a veto-proof majority.
President Bush has promised to veto the bill and the Senate approve S. 5 with just 63 votes, short of the two-thirds necessary to override.
Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, told LifeNews.com he "welcomed the ethical stand 34 Senators embraced to oppose forcing taxpayers to fund research that requires the destruction of embryonic human life."
He also applauded the votes of Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, the only two Democrats to oppose the embryonic funding bill.
Richard Doerflinger, with the pro-life office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told LifeNews.com that Americans have never "been required to assist in such direct exploitation of vulnerable human life in the past."
"Because the President has promised to veto this bill, and opposition to it in Congress is sufficient to uphold his veto in both House and Senate, we expect that this terrible burden will not be placed on the American people now," he said.
In a statement sent to LifeNews.com, the National Right to Life Committee pointed out that three senators who supported the bill were not present for the vote, including South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson who is still in a hospital after experiencing a stroke.
Had they been there, the vote would have been 66-34, still short of the two-thirds to override. Johnson may not return to the Senate to vote in a potential override situation, leaving backers of the bill two votes short.
The bill, S. 5., must go back to the House before it heads to the president and Democratic leaders there have yet to announce when a vote can be expected. The House approved its own measure earlier this year on a 253-174 margin, 37 votes short of the 290 necessary to override a Presidential veto.
The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, said it expected President Bush to carry through with his promise to veto the bill.
“We believe President Bush will fulfill his promise to protect life and veto this abhorrent piece of legislation that amounts to nothing more than a frontal assault on human life,” Jay Sekulow, the lead attorney, told LifeNews.com.
Doerflinger said he was disgruntled that "many members of Congress remain dazzled by irresponsibly hyped promises of ‘miracle cures’ from the destruction of human embryos."
“This debate continues to divert attention and resources away from the demonstrated therapeutic promise of morally sound research using adult and cord blood stem cells," he concluded.