President Bush Vetoes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 20, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Vetoes Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 20
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — For the second time, President Bush has vetoed a bill that would force Americans to pay for research that involves the destruction of human life. Because days-old unborn children are killed for their cells for science, the president said the bill crosses a moral line that he can’t support.

"If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers — for the first time in our history — to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos," the White House said in a statement highlighting the veto.

"The president has made it clear to Congress and the American people that he will not allow the nation to cross this moral line," the statement added.

Instead of signing the bill, President Bush issued an executive order to press for more research into ways of obtaining embryonic stem cells without harming human life.

The White House defended the president’s policy saying he was the first president to make federal funds available for stem cell research, including money for studies involving older embryonic stem cells where no more destruction would take place.

Since 2001, President Bush has made $130 million dollars available for research on stem cell lines derived from embryos that had already been destroyed.

The president has also provided more than $3 billion in federal funding for research on all forms of stem cells, including those from adult and other non-embryonic sources.

Now that Bush has vetoed 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.

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.

President Bush also called on the House to approve a bill the Senate passed that would provide public money for alternative forms of embryonic stem cell research that don’t involve the destruction of human life.