Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580
WASHINGTON, April 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following text is a statement by President Bush:
Scientists believe that stem cells have the potential for medical breakthroughs in treating debilitating medical diseases and disorders. However, the advancement of science and medicine need not conflict with the ethical imperative to protect every human life. I am a strong supporter of scientific research -- which is why I authorized the first federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells, under careful safeguards, starting in 2001.
My policy unleashed an unprecedented scientific effort using the stem cell lines my policy approved for funding. While encouraging -- not banning -- research, my policy also ensures that federal funds are not used to create incentives to destroy, or harm, or create living human embryos for purposes of research.
The Senate today voted in support of legislation to overturn these safeguards. I believe this will encourage taxpayer money to be spent on the destruction or endangerment of living human embryos -- raising serious moral concerns for millions of Americans.
Research using human embryonic stem cells is still at an early stage, and it will be years before researchers know how much promise lies in therapeutic applications. I believe this early stage is precisely when it is most important to develop ethically responsible techniques, so the potential of stem cells can be explored without violating human dignity and life.
S.5 is very similar to legislation I vetoed last year. This bill crosses a moral line that I and many others find troubling. If it advances all the way through Congress to my desk, I will veto it.
Meanwhile, exciting and significant scientific advances have been reported over the past few years on uses of stem cells that do not involve the destruction of embryos. These advances using adult and other forms of stem cells are exciting. Some have even produced effective therapies and treatments for disease -- all without the destruction of human life.
The second bill that passed the Senate today, the Hope Act, builds on this ethically appropriate research by encouraging further development of these alternative techniques for producing stem cells without embryo creation or destruction. I strongly support this bill, and I encourage the Congress to pass it and send it to me for my signature, so stem cell science can progress, without ethical and cultural conflict.