Feeds

Bush pledges to veto stem cell bill

General dismay at prez's pledge

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

President Bush has threatened to veto legislation aimed at loosening US goverment restrictions on stem cell research. Supporters of the offending bill - which is due to come before both the House of Representatives and the Senate shortly - believe that the vote will be close. If both approve it, then only a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate could override a presidential veto - an outcome thought unlikely by Republicans.

According to Reuters, Bush told reporters last Friday: "I've made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life - I'm against that. And therefore if the bill does that, I will veto it."

While this stance finds favour among Christian and other groups opposed to all forms of stem cell research, the bill's supporters are dismayed by Bush's pronouncement. Republican Representative Mike Castle of Delaware - who together with Democratic Representative Diane DeGette of Colorado are sponsoring the bill in the House of Representatives - stressed: "Under no circumstances does this legislation allow for the creation of embryos for research nor does it fund the destruction of embryos."

DeGette added that she was "disappointed at Bush's veto threat against a bill that holds promise for cures to diseases that affect millions of Americans," a lament echoed by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada who said: "President Bush has made the wrong choice, putting politics ahead of safe, responsible science."

And so the stem cell controversy rumbles on. In 2001, Bush put a stop to any further federal-funded stem cell research outside that on the already-existing 78 lines. However, some or all of these are thought to be useless after contamination with animal genetic material, as we reported back in January.

In March of this year, the UN general assembly voted 84 to 34 in favour of a nonbinding statement calling for a total ban on human cloning. This cut little ice with countries such as the UK, who pledged to continue with "therapeutic cloning" regardless. South Korea also voted nay, and a team from Seoul National University last week said it had "successfully produced stem cells by cloning embryos that are genetically identical to specific individuals".

This latest breakthrough prompted Bush to declare: "I'm very concerned about cloning. I worry about a world in which cloning would be acceptable."

But while Bush may have some legitimate cause to be concerned about possible abuses of stem cell and therapeutic cloning techniques, governments who have pledged to continue with stem cell work have stressed that they will not allow the cloning of human beings. Indeed, UK health secretary John Reid has stressed: "Reproductive cloning is already illegal in the UK. Anyone attempting it in this country faces a 10-year prison sentence and unlimited fine."

Back on the political frontline, meanwhile, Diane DeGette claimed: "Support for expanding federal stem cell research in an ethical manner remains strong in Congress. We do not believe that the president's statement today will impact the vote count on the bill scheduled for the floor next week." ®

Related stories

Scientists hail stem cell breakthrough
New guidelines complicate US stem cell research
Court backs California stem cell programme
UN approves human cloning ban
Britain talks tough on stem cell research
Congress seeks stem cell side-step
US stem cell research in jeopardy
UN to debate embryo cloning

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.