President Bush Touts Ethical Stem Cell Research, Calls for Human Cloning Ban

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 29, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Touts Ethical Stem Cell Research, Calls for Human Cloning Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 29,

Washington, DC ( — President Bush used his State of the Union address to laud ethical forms of stem cell research that don’t involve the destruction of human life and he urged scientists to continue pursuing moral forms of the science. The president also renewed his call for a ban on human cloning in all its forms and rejecting the commodification of human life.

“On matters of life and science, we must trust in the innovative spirit of medical researchers and empower them to discover new treatments while respecting moral boundaries,” President Bush said.

Bush touched on the discovery two teams of scientists made in November about the derivation of a new process that allows for the creation of embryonic-like stem cells without the destruction of human life.

The teams used skin cells to make pluripotent stem cells sharing essentially all the features of human embryonic stem cells. The newly-produced embryonic stem cells are known as "iPS" cells and pro-life groups say the cells are a moral and ethical alternative to destroying human embryos for their cells for research.

“This breakthrough has the potential to move us beyond the divisive debates of the past by extending the frontiers of medicine without the destruction of human life,” the president said. “So we’re expanding funding for this type of ethical medical research.”

While President Bush indicated his support for ethical research, he said Congress has an obligation to put roadblocks in front of researchers bent on creating and destroying human life through cloning. As he has in a previous State of the Union, Bush called on Congress to pass a ban on all forms of human cloning.

“And, as we explore promising avenues of research, we must also ensure that all life is treated with the dignity it deserves,” he said. “And so I call on Congress to pass legislation that bans unethical practices such as the buying, selling, patenting or cloning of human life.”

Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review talked about Bush’s stem cell research policy and said the president has based his repeated decisions to veto bills that would force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research on his desire to promote a respect for human life.

Bush’s policy “was premised on its being wrong for the federal government to encourage the destruction of human embryos,” he said.

“Bush was right about the potential for research to proceed within his restrictions: As the years have passed, it has become clearer and clearer that there are promising alternatives that don’t destroy human embryos,” he added.