New Hampshire Senator Sununu Attacked in Ads on Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire Senator Sununu Attacked in Ads on Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 25
, 2007

Concord, NH ( — Advocates of embryonic stem cell research are going after pro-life Sen. John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican who voted against a bill in the Senate in April that would have forced taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research. They’re hoping to change the minds of a handful of lawmakers to get a veto-proof vote.

The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 63 to 34, which was short of the two-thirds necessary to override President Bush’s promised veto of the bill.

Three senators who supported the bill were not present for the vote, including South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson who was in the hospital at the time. Had they been there, the vote would have likely been one away from the veto-proof margin they need.

Seeking additional votes, the liberal political group Americans United for Change has launched a serious of radio and television ads in the Granite State attacking Sununu.

"We’re talking about the endless and exciting possibilities of stem cell research," Michael Brunelle, the group’s representative, told AP. "Senator Sununu holds the key to opening that door. There is a major showdown on the horizon."

But the senator says the ads are misleading and noted that Americans United for Change is a "very liberal special interest funded by union bosses. It is disgraceful that they distort the facts on such an emotional issue for partisan politics."

Sununu told the Associated Press that he supports stem cell research, especially the kinds using adult stem cells from a variety of sources. He also has supported a bill that would look into ways of obtaining embryonic stem cells without destroying days-old unborn children.

"I voted for legislation that that would allow additional research on new embryonic cell lines created under existing guidelines," Sununu said.

He pointed out that, unlike the use of adult stem cells, "after years of [embryonic stem cell] research not a single therapy has been approved for clinical trial."

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.

Richard Doerflinger, with the pro-life office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told 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.

ACTION: Tell Senator SUnunu you support his vote against funding embryonic stem cell research. Go to or call (202) 224-2841.