Nancy Reagan to Lead Stem Cell Research Fight

Posted on May 16, 2006

The AP says Nancy Reagan is supporting Senators that plan to pass legislation supporting federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. President Bush has threatened to veto any leglistation that passes.

The House passed the measure nearly a year ago with support from 50 Republicans. Supporters contend government funding of the budding science could someday cure diseases suffered by millions of people. Opponents argue that harvesting such stem cells amounts to abortion because an embryo is destroyed in the process.

President Bush in 2001 ordered sharp restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, allowing it only for stem cells created before Aug. 9 of that year.

His veto threat stands, according to White House spokesman Ken Lisaius. Neither chamber of Congress has demonstrated the two-thirds support required to overcome a veto.

The article says Nancy Reagan urged Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to get the bill passed despite Bush's veto threat. The plan is to have the bill pass before the elections in November.
Mrs. Reagan's letter and a firming up of plans to tackle the issue this summer before the November elections mark a major step forward for the bill in the Senate. All 435 House seats and a third of the 100-member Senate are up for re-election at a time when Bush's approval ratings are at an all-time low.

The embryonic stem cell debate is one issue where parting with the president is unlikely to hurt senators. An overwhelming majority of the public supports the bill, including such pro-life constituencies represented by Hatch and Frist, a heart transplant surgeon.

Hopefully this bill will get through and there will be federal funds for stem cell research. It is a shame that we have had to let all these years go by without any federal funding.

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