Once again on Wednesday President Bush vetoed a bill that would have eased restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The bill was the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which was essentially the same bill that the president used his first ever veto on last year. The bill would have directed the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary to support embryonic stem cell research, regardless of their date of creation, if three conditions were met.

One, if the stems were derived from embryos by in vitro fertilization clinics for the purpose of fertilization, but they were in excess of what is needed for treatment. Two, it must be determined through consultation with those seeking the fertility treatment that the embryos will not be used. Three, the individuals who donated the embryos gave their written informed consent, and were not paid for their donation.

The bill originally passed the Senate in April by a vote of 63-34, but Senate Republicans have already made it clear that they will not vote to override President Bush’s veto. The president vetoed federal funding for stem cell research on simple moral grounds. From the East Room of the White House President Bush said, “Our innovative spirit is making possible incredible advances in medicine that can save lives and cure diseases. America is also a nation founded on the principle that all human life is sacred. And our conscience calls us to pursue the possibilities of science in a manner that respects human dignity and upholds our moral values.”

The question is whose moral values is he respecting? According to a poll taken earlier this year, 66% of Americans believe that embryonic stem cell research is at least “some what likely to lead to cures for currently incurable diseases.” 72% of Democrats, 59% of Republicans, and 69% of Independents felt this way. It has been very clear for a few years now that a majority of Americans support embryonic stem cell research. As a substitute for embryonic research, the president is touting what he calls “ethically derived stem cells,” but the problem with these methods is that they produce fewer cell lines, and they don’t regenerate as well.

The president seems to be the only obstacle to passage of an embryonic stem cell bill. I don’t understand how he can value the potential life of an embryo that might some day, maybe be implanted into a woman and become a person over the lives of millions of people living right now in the United States who could benefit from potential cures derived from embryonic stem cells. President Bush didn’t swear to protect the potential lives of unborn citizens in the United States during his oath of office. He is supposed to be protecting and defending the rights of those currently alive in the nation. This issue is probably going to be a hot one during the 2008 presidential campaign, and if a Democrat wins the presidency, it is a certainty that federal funding for embryonic stem cell research will be fully restored.

Bush quote came from this article.

The president’s full remarks

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 6:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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