More MS news articles for Aug 2001

Bush Warns Veto of Wider Stem Cell Approach

CRAWFORD, TX (Reuters Health) Aug 14 - US President George W. Bush said on Monday that he would veto any attempt by Congress to expand federally funded embryonic stem-cell research beyond the plan he unveiled last week.

"The statement I laid out is what I think is right for America. And any piece of legislation that undermines what I think is right will be vetoed," Bush told reporters. Bush last week approved federal funding for stem cell research limited to about 60 stem-cell lines that have already been derived from embryos.

Lawmakers who support stem cell research called Bush's move an important first step, but said they will take a closer look at the implications of the limits set by the president and whether the embryonic stem cells available are enough to satisfy research. But the president made it clear that he planned to stick to his decision, despite concerns in some quarters.

"I laid out the policy I think is right for America. And I'm not going to change my mind," Bush said. "I'm the kind of person that when I make up my mind, I'm not going to change it," he said, noting that stem-cell research was a "moral" issue.

Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Iowa Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin sponsored legislation allowing federal funding to extract stem cells for research from embryos that will be destroyed anyway. Specter expressed concern that the existing stem-cell lines are not enough to meet the needs for scientific research. "I intend to press for an early Senate vote on my bill," Specter said last week.

Bush unveiled his decision on stem cell research last Thursday in an address to the nation. The current issue of Newsweek reported that the president made his decision a month earlier but that he had used the time before his speech last week to gain scientific support and show those on the religious right of the Republican party that he was wrestling with the thorny issue.

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