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President's veto should not deter supporters of stem cell research

23 July 2006
By Sean Tipton
President, Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, USA
Appeared in BioNews 368
With unprecedented bipartisan support in the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, and from the American people, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act passed both houses of Congress and landed on President Bush's desk this week, only to be met with the first veto of the Bush Administration.

President Bush's choice to use his first veto ever to shoot down the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act represents a single-issue extremist point of view that completely discounts what many, including pro-life members of the Republican party, believe is an important avenue of research that may change the face of how we treat, cure, and help alleviate the suffering of so many Americans

With the stamp of his veto, President Bush ignored the beliefs of thousands of scientists and experts, a hundred million patients and their families, friends and caregivers - all who believe that embryonic stem cell research holds great promise in finding better treatments and cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other debilitating diseases and disorders.

Senate Majority Leader Frist showed exemplary leadership as he skillfully brought this legislation up for a vote to illustrate to the White House this nation's desire for embryonic stem cell research to be federally funded and conducted in a thoughtful, regulated manner. For the President to blatantly disregard the will of the people is outrageous. Vetoing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act speaks volumes to America that its President is not interested in leaving a legacy of forward-thinking research, cures, nor compassion and concern for those who suffer.

Not only do I believe embryonic stem cell research holds great promise in reshaping the world of disease and illness as we know it today, I also believe that by investing in stem cell research, the federal government can play a significant role in reducing medical costs in the future. This veto is a sign to every family America that the President doesn't care about their wallets.

And, this veto should strike fear in the hearts of anyone in America who has a desire to innovate, or to uphold our nation's strong tradition of leadership in science, medicine, and technology. While the answers, cures and treatments lie in the hands of science and medicine, the funding and oversight to ensure efficient, ethical and responsible research lies in the hands of our nation's leaders. By vetoing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, not only did the President ensure that these one hundred million patients suffer further, he also stripped many of America's greatest scientists and researchers of the tools they need and have been asking for. America's leadership position in the fields of science and medicine will suffer if our brightest minds are shackled by the darkest political manoeuvrings.

Did Thomas Edison know that his work would create an entirely new era in innovation and industry? Did Alexander Graham Bell know he would revolutionise the way we communicate and transmit information? Did the Wright Brothers know they would ultimately transform the transportation industry? Like Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Robert Jarvik proved in the medical and scientific community, great American innovation comes from chance, opportunity, hope and funding. For the President to ignore this is shameful and embarrassing, and will certainly have an impact on how the rest of the world views the way we prioritise our medical and scientific research goals.

Despite this veto, our hope cannot be extinguished. As a nation, we need to continue to support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Countless researchers and medical experts believe that stem cell research may hold the key to unlocking a whole new generation of treatments and cures, the likes of which cannot be derived from any other type of research.

We will continue to fight for federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The White House may feel as if they can wash their hands of this fight, but we know President Bush's actions will have implications in the upcoming November elections, as well as in 2008. We are hopeful that one day, we will be able to offer even better treatments and, eventually, cures for some of the most debilitating and deadly diseases and disorders facing American families today.

31 July 2006 - by Sarah Chan 
Embryonic stem cell research around the world has suffered some political setbacks in recent weeks. First, Australian Prime Minister John Howard rejected the recommendations of the Lockhart Review that the current law should be amended to permit research into therapeutic cloning; a few weeks later, President Bush overruled the votes...
23 July 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
By Heidi Nicholl: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this week authorised a $150 million loan to allow the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to fund initial research grants while litigation proceeds on the disputed bond allocation. Proposition 71 was passed by Californian voters in November 2004 allowing stem cell research...
20 July 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
US President George Bush has vetoed a bill passed by Congress that would have removed restrictions on federally-funded human embryonic stem (ES) cell research in America. The bill - known as the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (HR 810) - was debated alongside two other bills...
20 July 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
US President George Bush has vetoed a bill passed by Congress that would have removed restrictions on federally-funded human embryonic stem (ES) cell research in America. The bill - known as the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (HR 810) - was debated alongside two other bills...
18 April 2006 - by BioNews 
Prospects of the US passing a federal bill in support of all forms of stem cell research seem to have stalled, with a busy legislative timetable and lack of agreement on the issues to blame. Last year, Congress seemed like it had successfully reopened the debate on stem cell research...
3 April 2006 - by BioNews 
The House of Delegates of the US state of Maryland has approved a bill that could bring as much as $15 million of state funding per year for stem cell research, making it the fourth US state to authorise the spending of public money on such research. The money will...
1 August 2005 - by BioNews 
Bill Frist, the US Senate Majority Leader, has added his support to legislation that would extend the provision of federal funding for human embryonic stem (ES) cell research in the US. Current policy, set by President Bush on 9 August 2001, only allows state funds to be used for research...
6 June 2005 - by BioNews 
The state legislature of Massachusetts, US, has overruled a veto of legislation on human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The legislation, which was sponsored by Senate President Robert Travaglini, allows embryos to be cloned for medical research purposes, but prohibits human reproductive cloning. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the...
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