Yesterday in a New York Times op-ed, President Bush reaffirmed his decision not to allow federal funding for research on new stem cell lines, saying that regardless of how valuable this research proves, he will not allow federal funding for this purpose. In response, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) intend to introduce legislation expanding federal funding to research on stem-cell lines from in-vitro fertilization.
In an apparent attempt to sway public opinion in his favor, President Bush deceptively linked cloning and the creation of embryos “solely to be destroyed in medical research.” In fact, stem cells are typically extracted from fertility clinics’ frozen excess embryos.
In the months preceding Bush’s announcement, polls showed that the majority of Catholics support stem cell research and many conservative pro-life Congress members came out in support of the funding. The Massachusetts General Hospital Neurological Web Forum presented Bush with 13,000 petition signatures in support of stem cell research, and 80 Nobel laureates wrote accompanying letters of support.