Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Research

As expected, President Bush issued the first veto of his presidency today, stopping a bipartisan bill that would have lifted restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush, speaking at the White House, said after he followed through on his promise to veto the bill. "It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect. So I vetoed it."

The Senate passed the bill 63 to 37, with the support of 18 Republicans, including Oregon Senator Gordon Smith.  In the House, where the bill passed 238-194 last year, fifty Republicans, including Oregon Republican Greg Walden, joined the majority. 

The White House and Congressional Republican leaders claim it is unlikely that the veto can be overridden in Congress.  The House planned to take up the veto as early as later today.


  • jami (unverified)

    thou shalt throw thine in vitro fertilization embryos in the trash.

  • Albert (unverified)

    Thalt shall show some spine and override the veto :)

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    Thou shalt bow to the great god pharma and make sure they stay in business...

    Thous shalt bow to your base$ and deny health and the the pursuit of happiness to countless millions...

    Thou shalt make a bigger laughingstock of America to the rest of the world...

    Thou shalt leave a legacy of religious lunacy as your gift to Americans...

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    Thou shalt give a political cudgel to those who oppose you. Then they-who-oppose you will beat your allies with your cudgel and there will be much rejoicing.

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    No big surprise he vetoed it.

    My guess is the Senate will prove they are a rubber stamp for this administration by being cowards and not overridding his veto.

    Ol' Slick Gordo did the bait and switch thing again, my guess is he knew that it would pass but be a veto proof margin. Anyone want to bet he campaigns on the issue two years from now? Look I'm a moderate! (NOT!)

  • jami (unverified)

    "...there will be much rejoicing."

    yea verily.

  • Amicus Matriae (unverified)

    I work in the new Stem Cell Center up at OHSU, and was pleased to see the Center's director, who seems to understand the moral/ethical concerns about using embryonic stem cells, calling for more honesty by people who suggest that adult stem cells are just as good as embryonic stem cells.

    As suggested in the article, we are looking into something that would skirt the ethical concerns of obtaining pluripotent cells like embryonic stem cells (adult cells are multipotent at best), as is another group (they're way ahead of us). This line of research is not a waste of time -- it also could be far easier than conventional methods of obtaining those cells.

    But the usefulness of adult stem cells and alternate sources of pluripotent cells are huge "maybes" right now. So severely limiting what public scientists can do with existing embryonic stem cells that will eventually be thrown away, while people are dying of so many diseases seems pretty unethical to me.

    Republicans are hindering scientists who very badly want to cure diseases. There's a good article about the effect of Bush's stem cell policy here. Every Republican who allows Bush's veto to stand should feel just a little bit worse when they see someone having trouble getting down the street due to paralysis.

  • red (unverified)

    it seems like we need a little clarification, as ya'll seem to be a little confused.

    President Bush's veto doesn't mean ya'll can't go harvest babies and test your little bleeding hearts out. It means that taxpayers won't pay for that testing.

    That's all.

    Republicans aren't "hindering scientists." Scientists are perfectly free to test whatever they want to. Since money is really the issue, why don't you go round up a group of rich old people who'll fund your tests. Hell, I bet you could even get Nancy Reagan to kick in a million or two.

    So..."Go forth and research."

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    Every time a story like this comes over the BBC, I wonder if I'll be able to stomach coming back to the States. Every time I think I've reached the point where I can no longer be outraged, I get another nasty suprise courtesy of the Bush administration.

    There's el Presidente on my telly, surrounded by mothers with toddlers (oops, "former embryos," my bad) and making vile statements about them not being "spare parts." One would think there's an election coming up in November, and the president hasn't pandered to the far right enough lately to keep 'em happy. There's the poor BBC reporter, melting in the DC heat, reporting with a look on his face that says "what the hell will these wacked out Yanks do next?" Oh, and then there's Michael J. Fox giving an interview, fighting to keep his Parkinsons tremors, his anger, and his frustration in control long enough for a 15 second soundbite. He's failing on all counts.

    Meanwhile, here in Oxford, some of my pals are working in labs where stem cell research is underway. They're accessing some of the £20 million in government funds for stem-cell research announced in 2004. Quite a lot of these students are Americans, who couldn't pursue their work in the States and will likely stay on here to continue it--anecdotal evidence of the "brain drain" problem for the sciences in the US. Even the "pro-life" groups (a tiny minority here) aren't particularly upset by stem cell research. Meanwhile, government reports on the UK Stem Cell Initiative suggest as much as £74 million in government funding annually will go into stem cell research in the years ahead. (http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/uksci/index.htm)

    This isn't to say "England good, US bad." I miss the US, and particularly Oregon, quite a bit. There's also plenty to criticize over here, politically and otherwise. But a president that makes this issue his first veto; who decides to stir up all the intractable debates over reproductive rights and use them for his political ends; and who discounts the vital interest of the sick and dying in seeing this research go ahead--that I don't miss at all.

    I'll have to avoid the newspapers on my trip home this summer, or my outrage-o-meter will go straight to 'aneurism.'

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    I feel the same way as I sit here in Korea. Next year I'm planning on moving back to the US. It's said to see what has happened.

  • B. (unverified)

    Hey Red. Bush vetoed the stem cell bill because he considered it murder. So.....private corporations can commit murder but the government can't?????? The "right" is soooo wrong and so hypocritical!

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    For those keeping score, his using his first veto on this issue establishes evangelical xtian values as being more actionable than fiscal conservativism, for Bush. Obvious, I know, but they do deny it.

    As an aside, regarless of how it started, since the continued occupation of Iraq is now pretty much the White House's policy alone, we are, in fact, fighting a holy war against Islam in Iraq. OK, our government is. Technically, the President and his staff are. I guess when the Jihad comes home to roost it'll be their fault for not understanding the difference.

    BTW, I consider having a + growth rate number of children to be environmental terrorism. Many Jains consider eating root vegetables to be non-vegetarian as insects may be killed pulling them. A significant number of Americans consider Elvis to be alive. Wake up, right wing wackos- and the left wing ones too. It's not a society if everyone acts directly on whatever they decide you've done to wrong them. Perhaps disparaging the coursts was the first major step. Being ignornorant has certainly helped. Right to life. Don't know if your've noticed, but this ain't livin'.

  • Rebel Dog (unverified)

    Amicus Matriae? You mean, "Amicus Matris"?

    Bush fidem scit. Not, but sounds great.

  • Naughtius Maximus (unverified)

    Amicus matris? Liberi sunt amicus matris simile piratae sunt amici nautarum. De infortuna, non est disputandum de liberi.

  • Rebel Dog (unverified)

    Rachael, try to distract yourself with local outrageous situations. Like Cambridge Platonists, Thames Water, Oxford FC, the traffic camera in Woodstock, or Graham Gooch possibly being called up for the Ashes this winter.

    I lived in Holland in the mid-90s and found England and the US at the time to be pretty much equal. It is amazing to me how often I'm listening to BBC4 and realize how much we've slipped relative to England in the last 10 years.

    I'd love to see Mad TV produce an American version of the News Quiz. News Quiz and Dead Ringers have better Shurb immitations though. "My fellow umbrella stands, I said earlier that God had told me to invade Iraq. Actually now I think that was Dog and I'd fallen asleep. I was wondering why God was jumping up and down on my leg."

  • Amicus Matriae (unverified)

    Red, it's okay with you for rich people to harvest babies? Seriously? No public scientists I know want to do anything like that.

    <h2>Rebel and (uh-oh) Naughtius Maximus, I don't speak Latin, but am reading a book wherein Sam Adams pamphletted by the pseudonym of Amicus Patriae. I took Patriae to mean "fatherland" or "patriot." Don't tell me there's a "patriae" but no "matriae."</h2>
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