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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 3 - Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

January 11, 2007



(Rep. DeGette (D) CO and 210 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3, which would use Federal taxpayer dollars to support and encourage the destruction of human life for research. The bill would compel all American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos for the derivation of stem cells, overturning the President's policy that funds research without promoting such ongoing destruction. If H.R. 3 were presented to the President, he would veto the bill.

The President strongly supports medical research and has worked with Congress to increase resources for the National Institutes of Health. This Administration is the first to provide Federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research and has done so without encouraging the destruction of human embryos. The President's policy permits the funding of research using embryonic cell lines created prior to August 9, 2001, the date his policy was announced, along with stem cell research using other kinds of cell lines. Scientists can therefore explore the potential applications of such cells, but the Federal government does not offer incentives or encouragement for the destruction of human life.

Over the past six years, more than $130 million in taxpayer dollars has been devoted to human embryonic stem cell research consistent with the President's policy. Overall, nearly $3 billion has gone to innovative research on all forms of stem cells, contributing to dozens of proven medical treatments. However, this bill would provide Federal funding for the first time for a line of research that involves the intentional destruction of living human embryos for the derivation of their cells. Destroying nascent human life for research raises serious ethical problems, and millions of Americans consider the practice immoral.

The Administration believes that government has a duty to use the people's money responsibly, both supporting important public purposes and respecting moral boundaries. H.R. 3 seeks to replace the Administration's policy with one that uses Federal dollars to offer a prospective incentive for the destruction of human embryos. Embryonic stem cell research is at an early stage of basic science and has never yielded a therapeutic application in humans. Alternative types of human stem cells - drawn from adults, children, umbilical-cord blood, and other non-embryonic sources, without doing harm to the donors - have already achieved therapeutic results in thousands of patients with many different diseases.

Researchers are now developing promising new techniques to produce stem cells similar in nature to those derived from human embryos, but not requiring the use of embryos. A series of encouraging research reports, the latest of which was released this week, offers hope that stem cells drawn from non-embryonic sources may possess characteristics like those of embryonic stem cells. The Administration believes that the availability of alternative sources of stem cells further counters the case for compelling the American taxpayer to encourage the ongoing destruction of human embryos for research.

Moreover, private sector support and public funding by several States for this line of research, which will add up to several billion dollars in the coming few years, argues against the notion of any urgent shortfall of research funding. Whatever one's view of the ethical issues or the state of the research, the future of this field does not require a policy of Federal subsidies that is offensive to the moral principles of millions of Americans.

H.R. 3 advances the proposition that the Nation must choose between science and ethics. The Administration believes it is possible to advance scientific research without violating ethical principles - by enacting appropriate policy safeguards and pursuing thoughtful scientific techniques. H.R. 3 is seriously flawed legislation that would undo essential ethical protections, and slow the development of new techniques that avoid bio-ethical concerns.

George W. Bush, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 3 - Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project