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More pressure on Bush's stem cell policy

28 July 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 269

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 cell (ES cell) research. Speaking at the Democrat National Convention (DNC) on Tuesday, he told delegates that while he understood there were ethical and religious objections to the research, 'it does not follow that the theology of a few should be allowed to forestall the health and well-being of the many'.

While Ron Reagan did not mention the presidential candidates by name, his speech at the DNC has been seen as 'a tacit endorsement' of John Kerry, and derision of Bush: 'There are those who would stand in the way of this remarkable future, who would deny the federal funding so crucial to basic research', he said.  Kerry, the prospective Democratic candidate, opposes President Bush's restrictions on ES cell research. At a campaigning meeting at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the US's national space centre, on Monday, he told the 400-strong crowd that he would promote ES cell science. He said that America needs a president 'who believes in science, and who is prepared to invest America's efforts to cure Parkinson's and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and diabetes and Alzheimer's and do stem cell research'. He added: 'we need to push the curve of discovery. We need to move forward'.

Ron Reagan's speech comes in the wake of other high-profile support for ES cell research at the DNC. On Monday, Senator Hilary Clinton, wife of former president Bill Clinton, also spoke out in favour, and called on Bush to relax his 2001 restrictions on funding for federal scientists who wish to undertake ES cell research. Both Ron Reagan and Hilary Clinton add their voices to other vocal supporters of the ES cell research campaign, including Nancy Reagan and a number of celebrities and businessmen. In May, a bipartisan group of 206 Congress members wrote to Bush to ask him to rethink his policy and, in June, 58 Democratic and Republican Senators wrote a similar letter.

Later in June legislation supported by members of both political parties was introduced to Congress. Sponsored by Michael Castle (Republican) and Diana De Gette (Democrat), it would require the US government to fund ES cell research. However, a spokesman for the House said at the time that despite the support it has, the bill was likely to be 'doomed' this year, and it has failed to be scheduled for debate. And despite all the calls for change, White House spokesmen have confirmed that President Bush has no plans to change his ES cell policy.

Politics aside, Reagan pitches for stem cells
The Boston Herald |  28 July 2004
Reagan urges Democrats to back stem-cell research
The Washington Times |  28 July 2004
Ron Reagan's question
The Boston Globe |  28 July 2004
US Democrats embrace stem-cell issues
Nature |  28 July 2004
22 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
Nancy Reagan, former first lady of the US, has reiterated her calls for federal legislation supporting embryonic stem (ES) cell research. Earlier this month, she published a personal letter that she had written to Senator Orrin Hatch, saying that she wants to see debate and a...
18 July 2005 - by BioNews 
A new US bill that proposes funding research into alternatives to human embryonic stem (ES) cells is gaining support, and could take votes away from bill HR810, which proposes expanding federal funding for ES cell research. The new bill, HR3144 - introduced by Republican Senator Roscoe Bartlett - proposes $15 million a...
11 July 2005 - by BioNews 
A new poll reveals that 63 per cent of Americans think the US should adopt a national policy for medical research using human embryonic stem (ES) cells, while 57 per cent support the use of federal funds for such work. The survey, carried out by Research!America, also found that...
20 June 2005 - by BioNews 
Senators in the US will start to debate a bill on the issue of human embryonic stem (ES) cell research next month. A bipartisan group of senators is campaigning to persuade President Bush to relax his policy on the research. Bush, who opposes any research that would involve the destruction...
4 October 2004 - by BioNews 
A team of high-profile scientists, including 10 Nobel prize winners and two former presidential advisers, has set up a new group to put pressure on President Bush about his science policies. The group, called Scientists and Engineers for Change (SEC), is touring ten 'campaign battleground states', accusing the president of...
25 June 2004 - by BioNews 
John Kerry, the Democrat candidate likely to be up in opposition to President Bush in the US presidential elections in November, has pledged to increase the availability of federal funds for human embryonic stem (ES) cell research if he is elected. Speaking last week at a campaign appearance in Denver...
16 June 2004 - by BioNews 
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 (ES) cell research. Recently, cross-party groups - 206 members of Congress and 58 from...
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...
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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