Republican Presidential Candidates Respond to Stem Cell Research News

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

Republican Presidential Candidates Respond to Stem Cell Research News Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 20,

Washington, DC ( — The campaigns of Republican presidential candidates Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney responded to the news Tuesday that two teams of scientists have come up with an alternative to embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life. Thompson praised the new research while Romney’s camp said he backed it first.

In a statement his campaign sent, Thompson said the new method of creating embryonic stem cells is "exciting news for patients."

"For all who are concerned for patients and their families, the effective, ethical, and compassionate answer is to put our money where the breakthroughs are happening — in adult stem cell research," Thompson said.

"Using adult stem cells negates the need for cloning embryos to harvest their stem cells," he added. "Today’s announcement is just one more indication that our current policy in relying only on adult stem cells is working."

Throughout the campaign, the former Tennessee senator has said he opposes embryonic stem cell research and wants ethical alternatives.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign sought to take credit for promoting direct reprogramming of adult stem cells to become embryonic ones long before most of the other GOP candidates.

Romney spokesman Alex Burgos emailed and highlighted an editorial in National Review by Father Thomas Berg "praising Governor Romney for being the one candidate to take a strong stance on stem-cell research alternatives."

Berg’s editorial singles Romney out for promoting ethical stem cell research approaches as the governor of Massachusetts.

"In the highly contentious political battle over federal funding for stem-cell research, one cannot help but note that of all the current presidential candidates, only Governor Mitt Romney embraced an unambiguous and principled stance on the alternatives, incorporating them into his proposed domestic policy," Berg writes.

Stem cell research has divided some of the other Republican presidential candidates.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has repeatedly voted to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research that requires the destruction of human life. Congressmen Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo, other GOP candidates, have not.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has said he is opposed to the creation of human embryos for the sole purpose of destroying them for research.

"With respect to stem cells, I support federal funding of research using existing stem cell lines," he says on his web site. "I do not believe in creating life for the sole purpose of destroying it. I’m encouraged by recent discoveries showing that stem cells from the umbilical cord offer great promise."