The Senate voted last Wednesday to pass legislation supporting stem cell research. In a 63-34 vote, the Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which is expected to be vetoed by President Bush. The pressure is now on to secure the additional four votes to override the presidential veto. Two Senate Democrats, Senators Mary Landrieu and Christopher Dodd, were absent for last week’s vote.
The House has already passed a similar bill, which would allow for federal funding to be used towards researching donated embryos that otherwise would be destroyed. Scientists and medical professionals say this type of research can help find cures for illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
President Bush and many Republicans supported an alternative bill called the Hope Offered Through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research Act, which aims to appease opponents of stem cell research by only using embryos that have died of natural causes. Many in the medical field argue that this bill is effectively pointless, since this may not provide useful lines of stem cells to produce new medical findings.
White House spokesperson Tony Fratto said that Bush will definitely veto the bill passed already by the Senate and House. National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy said of Bush’s anti-stem cell research agenda, “Clearly, this is another attempt to insert political control over science and medicine. We hope that the President will do the right thing and sign [the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007].”