Stem cell research, which could potentially provide life saving treatment for Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer patients, could be blocked under the new Bush administration. During his presidential campaign, Bush said he “would oppose federally funded research for experimentation on embryonic stem cells that require live human embryos to be destroyed.” Questions remain if Bush will block the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from receiving discarded embryo stem cells that have been harvested by private researchers.
In August 2000, President Clinton released federal guidelines allowing federally funded scientists to perform research on stem cells harvested from human embryos, with the provision that the research is done on the cells and not embryos. A spokesperson for Bush said the president-elect intends to review the guidelines put forth by Clinton. Stem cell research could face additional obstacles if Bush’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tommy Thompson, is confirmed. Thompson is avidly anti-choice, and as the director of HHS, he would oversee the NIH.