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Bush's stem cell policy under fire again

4 October 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 278

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 'short-changing' science and hoping to swing votes away from Bush in the forthcoming presidential election.

The group says that it feels strongly that President Bush has used religious and moral ideology to distort scientific integrity. It says that on issues such as stem cell research, public health and the environment, the president has ignored science that does not fit with his own interests or those of his religious and business supporters. 'The current administration isn't paying attention to science', said Vinton Cerf, a founder member of the group, adding 'It's paying attention to ideology'. But Robert Hopkins, a spokesman for the Science and Technology Policy office of the White House, dismissed the group's message, saying that it has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics.

In addition to opposition from scientists, another famous name has joined the campaign against Bush, largely due to his policy on embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research. Michael J Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, spoke at a campaign event in Miami last week, pledging his support to Democratic candidate John Kerry. Fox, who set up a Foundation for Parkinson's Research four years ago, likened Bush's policy, which prohibits federally-funded researchers working on ES cell lines created after 9 August 2001, to 'giving someone a car without any gas to make it run'.

Fox pointed out that many people, including some Republicans, have called on Bush to change his policy. He went on to say that the president has 'made the wrong choices when it comes to stem cell research and taken us in the wrong direction', adding 'George Bush let ideology, not science, guide his decision making'. Of John Kerry, Fox said that he 'understands that we must permit and support this research and not thwart it'.

Michael J Fox, supporter of stem cell research, stumps for Kerry in Miami
The Miami Herald |  28 September 2004
Scientists begin a campaign to oppose President's policies
The New York Times |  28 September 2004
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