WASHINGTON – President Bush vetoed a bill June 20 that would have allowed federally funded scientists to study stem cells from human embryos.
Rep. Geoff Davis,R-Ky.,supports the president's decision.
“I support stem cell research that does not involve the destruction of human embryos,and we passed legislation in the last Congress that would encourage and fund that type of ethical research,” Davis said in a statement.
The House and Senate passed,but there were not enough votes in the Senate to override a veto,meaning the bill will likely die.
The legislation would have loosened restrictions Bush placed on stem cell research in 2001,banning federal funding of research that would intentionally destroy human embryos.
“Compelling American taxpayers to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos would be a grave mistake,” Bush said in an executive order. “I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line. For that reason,I must veto this bill.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown,D-Ohio,said Bush has slowed progress toward life-saving cures,and called it a “sad day.”
“More than 200,000 Ohioans have Alzheimer's disease. More than 40,000 have Parkinson's disease. More than 685,000 have diabetes,” Brown said in a statement. “Looking at these conditions alone,it's clear there are monumental stakes involved when federal actions delay the moment when embryonic stem cell research produces its first human treatment.”
Proponents of the bill,like Brown,say the embryos would be destroyed either way,and not being able to use them in research prevents potentially lifesaving research.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said in a briefing that scientific advances mean that human embryos are no longer the place to find “pluripotent” cells.
“More recently,there seem to be some indications,based on research,that one can derive these pluripotent cells – that is a cell that can transform itself into any other kind of cell within the body – not necessarily from embryos,but from other sources,including skin cells,” Snow said.
The office of Rep. Jean Schmidt,R-Ohio,released a statement saying she,too,applauds the president's veto.
“We strongly believe that there is now cutting edge science to accomplish all the potential goals of curing disease without using embryonic stem cells,and science itself is solving this problem,” she said.
Bush said he will continue to encourage scientists to conduct research using stem cells that do not come from embryos.
“We're already seeing remarkable advances in the science and therapeutic uses of stem cells drawn from adults and children,and the blood from umbilical cords – with no harm to the donor,” Bush said during remarks in the White House East Room following his veto. “Scientific advances like this one are important and should give us hope that there's a better way forward than scientific advances that require the destruction of a human life.”
In an executive order,Bush gave the Department of Health and Human Services 90 days to develop alternative approaches to funding stem cell research.