Embryonic Stem Cell Research Backers Worry John McCain Will Change View

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 14, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Backers Worry John McCain Will Change View

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 14
, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Backers of making taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research are concerned presidential candidate John McCain would change his position on the issue if he becomes president. That’s exactly what pro-life groups hope will happen — that McCain will see alternatives as so successful funding isn’t needed.

President Bush has been the pro-life movement’s biggest ally in Washington on embryonic stem cell research. He has repeatedly vetoed legislation to make taxpayer fund the research, which involves the destruction of days-old unborn children.

McCain voted for public funding, but Rep. Mike Castle, a Delaware Republican, is worried he would also veto the bill should he become president.

“Based on his votes in the Senate, the answer to that is yes,” he told the Hill newspaper about whether he thought McCain would sign it.

“The question becomes: Will the pro-life movement be able to persuade him otherwise between now and the election?” Castle asked.

Leading pro-life advocates who have discussed stem cell research with McCain say the presidential candidate, who opposes abortion, is very excited about the advances in ethical alternatives.

McCain is reportedly surprised by the initial success of iPSCs and the concept of direct reprogramming — turning adult stem cells into an embryonic-like state. Thus far, it has been so successful that some scientists say it may make embryonic stem cell research unnecessary.

As the science progresses, David O’Steen, the head of the National Right to Life Committee, hopes McCain will realize taxpayers don’t have to fund embryonic stem cell research for patients to get the best scientific research possible.

“We’d be hopeful that he’d leave [Bush’s] policy in place,” O’Steen said, though he said McCain’s ultimate decision is “an open question.”

“I don’t think he’s ideologically committed” to embryonic stem cell research, O’Steen added. “While Barack Obama is ideologically committed to it, John McCain has indicated that [embryonic] stem cell research is, in his words, ‘academic.’"

Should McCain refrain from public funding, it would be a return of sorts to his original position against embryonic stem cell research funding, adopted before Nancy Reagan lobbied him on the issue in 2005, The Hill indicates.

While McCain supports public funding, he opposes the purposeful creation of human embryos for destruction, he supports funding adult stem cell research and opposes both forms of human cloning.

That’s a contrast to the position pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama takes — as he has said he would use an executive order to mandate funding for the grisly research as soon as he takes office.


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