New Senator Gives Senate One Less Embryonic Stem Cell Research Override Vote

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Senator Gives Senate One Less Embryonic Stem Cell Research Override Vote Email this article
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June 27, 2007

Washington, DC ( — When the Senate takes a vote on whether to override President Bush’s veto of a bill that forces taxpayers to finance embryonic stem cell research, advocates of the bill will have one less possible vote on their side. That’s because the new senator from Wyoming says he opposes public funds for the grisly research.

New U.S. Senator John Barrasso takes the place of pro-life Sen. Craig Thomas, who passed away earlier this month.

Like Thomas, Barrasso, a Republican physician, says he doesn’t intend to support the bill, S. 5, that the Senate will vote for an override on following the Independence Day recess.

"I’m a strong advocate of medical research, research we can do to help people with disease, and I think we can do it in a way that we don’t destroy embryos," Senator Barrasso told the Casper Star Tribune newspaper Tuesday.

"I think within about a year to a year and a half, this whole issue will be behind us, because the science is advancing so quickly that we’re going to find ways to help find cures for these diseases without having to worry about this ethical and moral issue," he added.

Ultimately, Barrasso said "it’s better to do research that does not destroy an embryo."

Right to Life of Wyoming state President Steven Ertelt said he was thrilled by the new senator’s remarks.

"Senator Barrasso told Wyoming voters when he applied to replace Senator Thomas that he would vote to protect the dignity of human life and he’s proving that to be true," Ertelt said.

"Senators face tremendous pressure from well-funded lobbyists to finance this destructive research which has never helped a single patient. We’re proud of Senator Barrasso that he has taken this principled and common-sense stand," Ertelt added.

The Senate approved the bill in April on a 63-34 with three Democrats who support the measure absent at the time. The 66 vote total was one short of the two-thirds needed to override the veto and has Barraso said he would vote for the bill, a two-thirds vote might be assured.

If the Senate vote is successful, the House will follow suit on attempting to override the veto, but backers of embryonic stem cell research don’t have enough votes.

The House voted 247-176 in support of S. 5 on June 7, which was more than 30 votes short of two-thirds.

Instead of signing the bill, President Bush issued an executive order to press for more research into ways of obtaining embryonic stem cells without harming human life.