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Bush continues to defend his position on stem cells

16 June 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 263

Despite calls from members of both political parties in the US House of Representatives and Senate, as well as celebrities and the Reagan family, President Bush has no plans to change his policy on human embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research. Recently, cross-party groups - 206 members of Congress and 58 from the Senate - have written letters to the president urging him to relax the rules he established on 9 August 2001, which say that federally-funded researchers may only work on ES cell lines created before that date.

One of the Senators who signed the letter to the president was John Kerry, the man likely to be the Democratic candidate facing Bush in the presidential elections in November. On Saturday, in a radio broadcast, Kerry called on Bush to ease the restrictions on ES cell research. 'We must lift the barriers that stand in the way of science and push the boundaries of medical exploration so that future researchers can find the cures that are there if only they are allowed to look', he said, adding: 'Medical discoveries that come from stem cells are crucial next steps in humanity's uphill climb'.

White House spokesman Scott McLellan, speaking to the press on Monday, responded, saying 'the president came up with a policy that will allow us to explore the promise of stem cell research, and do so in a way that doesn't cross a certain moral threshold that he set'. He went on to say that basic research was still being conducted which would hopefully lead to a better understanding of stem cells and their potential uses, saying that there was still a lot scientists do not yet know. He further stated that President Bush had 'articulated his reasons' for the current policy, including that he does not believe 'we should be creating life for the sole purpose of destroying life', adding 'that is his position, and that remains his position'.

On Tuesday, President Bush spoke by satellite link to an audience of Christian conservatives - the Southern Baptist Convention - and  seemingly reiterated his opposition to ES cell research. 'Life is a creation of God, not a commodity to be exploited by man', he said. He also called upon Congress to pass 'a comprehensive and effective ban on human cloning', which could be taken to mean cloning for both reproductive and research purposes.

Bush Defends Limits on Stem Cell Research
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Bush Defends Stem-Cell Limit, Despite Pressure Since Reagan Death
The New York Times |  16 June 2004
Bush resists pressure to ease stem-cell curb
The Chicago Tribune |  15 June 2004
Kerry Calls on Bush to Reverse Stem Cell Policy
Reuters |  12 June 2004
1 November 2004 - by BioNews 
In the final run-up to the US presidential election on 2 November, both candidates have been heavily campaigning, including on the issue of embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry promises to abandon the restrictions placed on ES cell research by Bush in 2001. Bush's policy limits...
16 August 2004 - by BioNews 
Laura Bush, the first lady of the US, has defended president Bush's policy on embryonic stem (ES) cells in a campaign tour speech. Speaking to the Pennsylvania Medical Society last week, on the third anniversary of Bush's policy decision, she also said that Democratic candidate John Kerry has exaggerated the...
28 July 2004 - by BioNews 
Ron Reagan, the son of the late US president Ronald Reagan, has urged Democrat supporters to vote for candidates who would relax policy on human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Speaking at the Democrat National Convention (DNC) on Tuesday, he told delegates that while he understood there were ethical and...
19 July 2004 - by BioNews 
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced the creation of an embryonic stem cell bank and three centres of excellence for stem cells. The move comes amid increasing pressure from the scientific community against President Bush's stem cell policy, which limits the cell-lines available to federally-funded researchers. The...
7 July 2004 - by BioNews 
Last week, in its monthly magazine, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) announced its support for human embryonic stem (ES) cell research and called for federal funding to be restored for new studies to fight disease. This may add to the 'pressure' on President Bush to relax his policy on such...
9 June 2004 - by BioNews 
Fifty-eight US Senators, from both political parties and representing a majority of the Senate, have sent a letter to President Bush, urging him to change his policy on embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Their action comes only a month after a similar letter to the president was signed by 206...
17 May 2004 - by BioNews 
The Bush administration has responded to a letter sent from Congress members to the president earlier this month, which called for a relaxation of federal restrictions on embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The letter, signed by 206 representatives, called for the president to change his policy, which has been in...
10 May 2004 - by BioNews 
Following a letter from Congress members to President Bush last week calling for changes in federal restrictions on embryonic stem (ES) cell research, the White House has announced that it will send a representative to a meeting with the lawmakers to discuss the issue. House of Representatives members Diane De...
10 May 2004 - by BioNews 
President Bush is facing mounting pressure to review his three-year old policy on human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. At a gala dinner held on Saturday night for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Nancy Reagan, wife of the former US President Ronald Reagan, made a passionate speech imploring the...
29 April 2004 - by BioNews 
A letter signed by 206 cross-party members of the US House of Representatives has been sent to President Bush, asking him to change his policy on embryonic stem (ES) cell research. On 9 August 2001, the President issued an executive order limiting the availability of federal funds for ES cell...
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