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Bush kills stem cell research bill

Debate will now be political

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President Bush has used his veto to kill another bill that would have lifted some of the restrictions on research using human embryonic stem cells.

The news has been greeted with dismay, but not surprise, by the scientific community.

In announcing his use of the veto, Bush told reporters: "Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) said the bill had the support of "a broad coalition of Americans spanning all parties and faiths", and expressed its disappointment in the decision.

The New York Times reports that polls suggest the majority of voters, and even members of his own party would support a restriction on the regulations governing stem cell research.

"The scientific consensus is that embryonic stem cell research is an extremely promising approach to developing more effective treatments for devastating conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson's disease.

"The bill would mandate that such research be allowed to compete for federal funding while following strict ethical guidelines," the AAAS said in a statement.

Political observers in Washington noted that the announcement has effectively made stem cells an issue in the 2008 presidential race.

Supporters of the bill are now considering attaching it to other legislation that Bush would be unlikely to reject. But it is more likely that it will be an issue for the next White House resident.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama declared support for the research, but the front running republicans are divided on the issue. ®

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