Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Senate approves stem cell research bill, Bush promises his first veto

Aside from the amazing fact that this would be his only veto since he was first elected president in 2000, this isn't as bad as people make it sound...

BBC - The US Senate has approved a controversial bill to expand embryonic stem cell research, which President George W Bush has promised to veto.

The measure passed by 63 votes to 37, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.

Opinion polls suggest most Americans back the research, which scientists hope will lead to cures for illnesses like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

But Mr Bush has consistently opposed embryonic research on moral grounds.

People are generally for stem cell research as they should be; the possibilities stem cell research could yield are astounding. So, many ask, why is Bush stopping stem cell research? He's not. In 2001 he banned federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, but not adult stem cell research. The most "controversial" bill (as the article labels it) of the 3 approved by the Senate, would reverse that 2001 embryonic funding ban. There are no laws banning private stem cell research, and it moves forward in many states including my home state of California at my alma mater, no less.

So what's the big fuss about? The other two bills passed unanimously and Bush is expected to sign them into law. The first encourages stem cell research via means other than embryonic and the second bans growing and aborting foetuses simply to harvest their stem cells. No one seems up in arms about those two... they make sense.

So who cares whether or not the government gives tons of cash out for embryonic research? It's still legal, you just won't be able to count on the government to fund your research...

UPDATE @ 7/19 12:21pm: Bush follows through on his promise and vetoes the bill that would federally fund embryonic stem cell research. He did sign the other two stem cell bills into law to increase adult stem cell research and ban growing and aborting foetuses simply to harvest their stem cells.