President Bush Defends Embryonic Stem Cell Research Record, Seeks Cloning Ban

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 8, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Defends Embryonic Stem Cell Research Record, Seeks Cloning Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 8,

Washington, DC ( — In a speech to conservative activists gathered for a conference in Washington this week, President Bush defended his record against federal funding for embryonic stem cell research that requires the destruction of human life. He praised new advances in ethical alternatives and pressed for a human cloning ban.

Looking back on his presidency, Bush said he was proud that he kept the federal government from crossing an important moral line and allowing federal funding of new embryonic stem cell research involving the destruction of human life.

"We believe that all human life is precious and deserves to be protected," he said.

"In 2001, I had a grave decision to make on the question of embryonic stem cell research. I believed we could empower scientists and researchers to discover cures for terrible diseases — without crossing a moral line," Bush explained.

"So I authorized research on existing stem cell lines, and stood against any effort to use federal tax dollars to support the destruction of human life," he said.

Bush talked about the political critics like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who claimed he put politics ahead of science.

"They thought my defense of life was short-sighted and harmful. When I vetoed two bills that sought to use tax dollars to destroy human embryos" Bush said they called his decision "ridiculous and scientifically naive."

In the end, the president said new advances have vindicated his position.

"Last November, scientists announced a landmark achievement," he said. "They found a way to reprogram adult skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells."

"This discovery has the potential to end the divisive debate over stem cell research. It will allow us to expand the frontiers of medicine, while maintaining a culture of life," President Bush said.

Looking ahead, Bush promised more funding for ethical research and repeated his call from the State of the Union address for a cloning ban.

"In the coming year, we will increase funds for this type of ethical research. And I will continue to push for a ban on the buying, selling, patenting or cloning of human life," Bush concluded.