by Steven Ertelt
January 29, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups indicated broad support for President Bush’s remarks in Monday night’s State of the Union address calling for ethical stem ell research and a ban on human cloning. They are asking members of Congress to act on Bush’s recommendations by approving a bill to ban both reproductive and research-based cloning.
"President Bush emphasized the importance of his policy which supports stem cell research to find treatments and cures for disease, so long as such research does not require harming or killing humans," National Right to Life associate director Darla St. Martin told LifeNews.com.
"President Bush’s unwavering policy has been vindicated as researchers have discovered new, ethical sources for stem cells that show great promise," St. Martin added.
Douglas Johnson, the pro-life group’s legislative director, told LifeNews.com that he’s worried Congressional Democratic leaders will continue trying to push for bills to promote cloning or overturn Bush’s limits on funding embryonic stem cell research.
"The Congressional Democratic leadership, urged on by the biotech industry, has been intent on passing legislation that would pave the way for cloned human embryo farms," Johnson explained.
However, he said pro-life lawmakers and the Bush administration have been able to stop them so far.
In June, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a bill, deceptively labeled as a ban on human cloning, that actually would have allowed large-scale cloning of human embryos solely for purposes of research.
National Right to Life supports the Weldon-Stupak Human Cloning Prohibition Act (H.R. 2564), which would prohibit the creation of human embryos by cloning nationwide. House passed the bill in 2001 and 2003, but the Senate has never acted on it.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, also applauded Bush’s comments on science and ethics — calling them a "high mark" of the speech.
Perkins said "advances in science have made embryonic stem cell research obsolete" and said his group sides with Bush in calling for a human cloning ban.
"Now it is up to the Democratic leadership to take up the President’s challenge or to ignore the will of the people," he said.
Congressman Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican and leading pro-life lawmaker, gave the president kudos as well.
By reminding the American people that his opposition to funding unethical research was vindicated by recent scientific breakthroughs, this president proved that it is still possible to stand for traditional values in an ever-changing world," he told LifeNews.com.
Last January, researchers at Wake Forest University announced the discovery of stem cells in amniotic fluid. According to researchers, these stem cells share important traits similar to stem cells obtained from human embryos.
In November, scientists announced that skin cells could be reprogrammed to function like embryonic stem cells.
Already, humans with at least 73 different diseases and conditions have received therapeutic benefit from treatment with non-embryonic stem cells. In contrast, embryonic stem cells have not been tested in humans for any purpose because of the dangers demonstrated in animal studies, including frequent formation of tumors.