Sunday, May 22, 2005
On the heels of the recent announcement of the breakthrough by South Korean researchers, who reported the relative ease with which human embryos can be cloned in order to produce new stem-cell lines, President Bush told reporters in the Oval Office Friday that he would veto any legislation that attempts to make federal funding more readily available for stem-cell research:
Q Mr. President, on stem cells, specifically, would you veto legislation that loosened the requirement on federal funding for stem cell research? And secondly --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Deb --
Q -- what is your reaction to the news about the South Koreans on embryonic --
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm -- first, I'm very concerned about cloning. I worry about a world in which cloning becomes acceptable. Secondly, I made my position very clear on embryonic stem cells. I'm a strong supporter of adult stem cell research, of course. But I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is -- I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it.
The President's comments appear to have been directed at H.R. 810 ("The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005"), a bipartisan bill with 147 House sponsors. According to the Congressional Research Service's summary, the bill would "[a]mend . . . the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo. Limits such research to stem cells that meet the following ethical requirements: (1) the stem cells were derived from human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics for the purpose of fertility treatment and were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment; (2) the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded; and (3) such individuals donate the embryos with written informed consent and receive no financial or other inducements." [tm]