Senate Democrats

FACT CHECK: President Bush on Stem Cell Research

President Bush today vetoed legislation to expand embryonic stem cell research – for the second time.  Instead of providing hope to millions of Americans, President Bush chose ideology over science.  President Bush needs to face facts: Americans support this bill by a wide margin. 

PRESIDENT BUSH:  “If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers for the first time in our history to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos.” (Remarks, 6/20/07) 

FACT:  Senate legislation would only support research on stem cells from excess embryos from fertility clinics that would otherwise be discarded.  “Earlier this year, the House passed H.R. 3, legislation that would expand the number of embryonic stem cell lines eligible for federally funded research.  The Senate has introduced identical legislation, S. 5, and is expected to consider this issue in the coming weeks.  Like H.R. 3, S. 5 would permit federally funded research only on stem cell lines from embryos that would otherwise have been discarded.”  (DPC Report, 3/27/07

PRESIDENT BUSH:  “Recently, the United States Senate passed a bill, sponsored by Norm Coleman and others, that would authorize additional federal funding for alternative stem cell research.  The bill was approved with the backing of 70 United States senators.  The House leaders need to pass similar legislation that would authorize additional funds for ethical stem cell research.  It would be an important advancement.  It would be an important statement, because we can’t lose the opportunity to conduct research that would give hope to those suffering from terrible diseases and help this country move beyond the controversies over embryo destruction.” (Remarks, 6/20/07)

FACT:  Most scientists agree: adult stem cells do not have the same potential as embryonic stem cells.  “Most scientists strongly disagree with the claims of the White House and some Republican Senators that adult stem cell research is more promising than embryonic stem cell research.  Adult stem cells do not have the intrinsic ability to generate all other types of tissue and have been found in only a few tissues….Most scientists, including the directors of the NIH, believe research on both embryonic and adult stem cells is needed.”  (DPC Report, 3/27/07)

PRESIDENT BUSH:  “In the meantime, my administration is taking immediate action to increase our support for researchers and their vital work.  Earlier today, I issued an executive order to strengthen our nation’s commitment to research on pluripotent stem cells.” (Remarks, 6/20/07)

FACT:  The Executive Order provides no new funding for research, and takes no immediate steps to broaden American research.  “But the effort appears largely symbolic — there is no money attached — and some scientists were instantly skeptical. Two leading stem cell researchers, interviewed Tuesday evening, said the recent work was no substitute for embryonic stem cell research.” (New York Times, 6/20/07)

PRESIDENT BUSH:  “With these steps, we’ll encourage scientists to expand the frontiers of stem cell research.  We want to encourage science.  We want to say, ‘We stand on your side in an ethically responsible way.’” (Remarks, 6/20/07)

FACT:  The Director of the National Institute of Health sees science stalling without embryonic stem cell research.   “It’s not possible for me to see how we can continue the momentum of science and research with the stem cell lines we have at NIH that can be funded…. [F]rom my standpoint as NIH director, it is in the best interest of our scientists, our science, and our country that we find ways and the nation finds a way to go full-speed across adult and embryonic stem cells equally.” (Testimony before the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, 3/19/07).

FACT:  S. 5 contains ethical guidelines that are stricter than those currently in place under the President’s policy. (DPC Report, 4/10/07)