WASHINGTON – Pro-life supporters sent a message to President George W. Bush in front of the White House,Wednesday,saying his decision on stem cell research could jeopardize his voting base.
“President Bush is going to commit political suicide if he alienates the pro-life voters who were part of his stronghold during the election,” Randall Terry,president of Loyal Opposition and head protester,said.
Terry cited a May 18 letter Bush wrote to Robert Best,president of the Culture of Life Foundation,in which Bush wrote,“I oppose federal funding for stem cell research that involves destroying living human embryos.”
“We want the president to keep his promise and not use taxpayers' money to destroy tiny human beings,” Terry said.
Although the group was made up of 10 demonstrators,Terry said the group was only a part of the national protest that was also occurring in Baltimore,Birmingham,Ala.; Dayton,Ohio; Dallas,St. Louis,Portland,Ore.; Philadelphia,Cleveland and Denver.
In his clerical outfit,the Rev. Peter West held up a sign stating “President Bush Keep Your Promise.” A member of the Priests For Life,one of the largest pro-life organizations nationwide,West said Bush's decision would affect the pro-life community that strongly supported him in the last election.
“I voted for him and I'm hopeful now that he'll stay true to his original message,because he is going to find a smaller voting base in 2004 if he funds stem cell research,” West said.
In the afternoon heat,protester Leslie Bashioum of Leesburg,Va.,pushed two of her children in a stroller,holding signs,while the other two followed,saying she's been praying for an opportunity for a peaceful protest.
“This is an issue I pray about intensely because I know I wouldn't want any of my children to have been destroyed as an embryo for research purposes,” Bashioum said. “I only wish my other son could be here but he's at camp.”
The group had earlier held a demonstration at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Research in Norfolk,Va.,where Terry said the group met no opposing protesters.
Terry said the numbers were smaller than expected because of last minute planning. “But we're hoping that other cities had as many or more people getting their message out about this important issue that affects every human being.”
Bush is expected to soon make a decision on whether to federally fund researchers who create embryos for the sole purpose of taking out the stem cell,which would destroy the embryo.
Proponents for stem cell research have said the research needs to be funded because it's a potentiality for curing severe diseases,such as paralysis,Parkinson's disease and certain cancers and lack of funding could drive top researchers out of the country.