President Bush to Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Wednesday

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 19, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush to Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Research Bill Wednesday

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 19
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — President Bush will veto a bill tomorrow that forces taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research involving the destruction of human life. This will be the second time the president has protected the American people from a Congressional bill making the public pay for research that destroys days-old unborn children.

Bush renewed the moral line he made with the previous bill in a statement shortly before the House sent him the bill this time.

"American taxpayers would for the first time in our history be compelled to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos," he said. "For that reason I will veto” the bill.

After Bush vetoes the bill, the Senate will have the first chance to override it.

It approved the bill in April on a 63-34 with three Democrats who support the measure absent at the time. The 66 vote total was one short of the two-thirds needed to override the veto but, since that time, pro-life Sen. Craig Thomas of Wyoming passed away.

Unless his seat is filled by the time the Senate votes on the override, only 66 votes are needed to overturn Bush’s veto and make the bill law.

If the Senate vote is successful, the House will follow suit on attempting to override the veto, but backers of embryonic stem cell research don’t have enough votes.

The House voted 247-176 in support of S. 5 on June 7, which was more than 30 votes short of two-thirds.

Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who was the lead sponsor of the House bill, confirmed those numbers in an interview with Bloomberg News.

"We think we have 66” votes in the Senate, she said. "So we just need one more and then it will go to the House, where we are short but are picking up more.”

President Bush hasn’t yet vetoed the bill and critics are already blasting his decision.

Republican Rep. Michael Castle of Delaware, a lead co-sponsor of the bill in the House, held a press conference Tuesday claiming the president is holding up science even though embryonic stem cell research has never cured a single patient.

"I consider this to be an overwhelming error” he said. "I consider this to be flat-out wrong because of the significance of what can be done with this research.”

Pro-life groups oppose embryonic stem cell research because of the destruction of human life involved and point to the use of adult stem cells as a more effective and ethical alternative. It has helped treat patients with dozens of diseases while embryonic cells have never been tried in humans because of several problems.