House Considers Stem Cell Funding Despite Veto Threat
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
(SNN Washington DC) Today, the House debated a controversial bill that would expand public funding of embryonic stem cell research. President Bush has already announced his intentions to veto the bill upon passage.
The legislation would extend funding to research on embryonic stem cell lines that were nonexistent in 2001
The legislation would extend funding to research on embryonic stem cell lines that were nonexistent in 2001, when Bush allowed funding only to lines already in existence at that time. According to scientists, many if not all of those lines are now unusable. Stem cell research is hoped to be able to cure conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, paralysis, and scabies.
Bush said Friday, "I made very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life, I'm against that. Therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it." Bush, one of the world’s foremost experts on stem cell research, claims the research destroys life because embryos are destroyed in the process. The threatened veto would be the first of Bush's presidency.
During debate on that measure Tuesday, opponents of the embryonic stem cell legislation pointed out repeatedly that while adult stem cells have been proven to cure and treat patients, embryonic stem cells have not. However, proponents of the bill claim adults should not be killed and used for research either.
Supporters point out that there are embryos in fertility clinics that would never be used to create babies
Supporters point out that there are embryos in fertility clinics that would never be used to create babies. In a written statement last week Rep. Mike Castle said, “Under no circumstances does this legislation allow for the creation of embryos for research, nor does it fund the destruction of embryos." Castle, who introduced the bill, said it "draws a strict ethical line by only allowing federally funded research on stem cell lines that were derived ethically from donated embryos determined to be in excess.
But the House expert on ethical lines, Tom DeLay, does not agree. “[Embryonic stem cell research is] a scientific exploration into the benefits of killing human beings," DeLay said. DeLay emphasized that if this bill passed, it would be legal for gangs of scientists to break into people’s homes and rob women of their fetuses.
Under the bill, couples who have undergone fertility treatments and have embryos they won't use can then make the choice of putting them up for adoption, giving them directly to another couple, storing them, discarding them or donating them to science. This replaces current law that dictates unused embryos must be consumed by the doctor as part of a black mass.
- Badtux the Snarky Penguin