New Poll Finds Americans Continue to Oppose Tax Funding Embryonic Stem Cell Research
by Steven Ertelt
September 17, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As Congress considers potential legislation that would repeal the law a federal judge has cited as standing in the way of the executive order President Barack Obama issued to force taxpayers to finance embryonic stem cell research, a new poll shows Americans don’t want their tax dollars used to fund it.
The poll, conducted by ICR / International Communications Research and commissioned by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, surveyed 1,006 adults September 8-14.
The opinion poll shows a plurality of Americans (47 percent) oppose federal funding of stem cell research that involves destroying human embryos, while only thirty-eight percent (38 percent) support such funding.
Survey respondents were informed that stem cells can also be obtained from adults, placentas from live births and other ways that do no harm to the donor, and that scientists disagree on whether stem cells from embryos or from such alternative sources may end up being most successful in treating diseases.
After given that information, fifty-seven percent (57 percent) favor funding only the research avenues that do not harm the donor, while only twenty-one percent (21 percent) favored funding all stem cell research, including research that involves killing embryonic human beings.
Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of the USCCBs Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities said Congress "should not be misled on this important issue.
"Most Americans do not support federally funded research that requires destroying human embryos. They want their tax dollars used for stem cell research that is ethically sound as well as medically promising the kind of research that has attracted the interest and commitment of more and more stem cell experts in recent years," he told LifeNews.com.
The new poll also shows continued overwhelming opposition to human cloning, whether to provide children for infertile couples (83 percent against) or to produce embryos that would be destroyed in medical research (76 percent against).
A comparison with three identical polls conducted by ICR in August 2004, May 2005, and May 2006 shows a consistent level of moral concern on this issue on the part of the American public. Federally funded hESCR has never garnered majority support in this poll, starting at a high of 43 percent over six years ago in August 2004.
When informed of their options, most Americans consistently support funding only stem cell research that does not require destroying embryos. The ICR polls also consistently show opposition of 76 percent or higher to human cloning, whether for reproduction or medical research.
The new poll follows one from Rasmussen Reports showing 57 percent of Americans opposing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.
The questions the poll asked follow:
SC-1. Stem cells are the basic cells from which all of a person’s tissues and organs develop. Congress is considering the question of federal funding for experiments using stem cells from human embryos. The live embryos would be destroyed in their first week of development to obtain these cells. Do you support or oppose using your federal tax dollars for such experiments?
Support 382 38%
Oppose 478 47%
Don’t Know 115 11%
Refused 31 3%
SC-2. Stem cells for research can be obtained by destroying human embryos. They can also be obtained from adults, from placentas left over from live births, and in other ways that do no harm to the donor. Scientists disagree on which source may end up being most successful in treating diseases. How would you prefer your tax dollars to be used this year for stem cell research?
Supporting all methods, including those that require destroying human embryos, to see which will be most successful 208 21%
Supporting research using adult stem cells and other alternatives, to see if there is no need to destroy human embryos for research 576 57%
(VOLUNTEERED) Neither 88 9%
Don’t Know 105 10%
Refused 29 3%
SC-3. Should scientists be allowed to use human cloning to try to create children for infertile couples?
Yes 88 9%
No 839 83%
Don’t Know 59 6%
Refused 20 2%
SC-4. Should scientists be allowed to use human cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be destroyed in medical research?
Yes 125 12%
No 767 76%
Don’t Know 91 9%
Refused 23 2%
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