Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Information and Resources

Bush Backs Strictly Limited Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research


Under the Bush decision, Weinberg said, "only privately funded scientists will have access to new cell lines," which "places a significant barrier in the path of knowledge."

On the other hand, Richard Doerflinger, an official with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that Bush had crossed a "moral line" by permitting research on cells that required the destruction of a human embryo. He said that the limits proposed by Bush could be unworkable, setting the stage for future destruction.

A range of "pro-life" religious groups have intensely pressured the Administration not to allow any government support of the research, citing a pledge Bush made in May to ban government funding for research that destroys "living" embryos. Last month, after Bush met with the Pope in Italy, the Vatican weighed in strongly against any embryonic research.

But those who support stem cell research have argued that having the U.S. government's enthusiastic lead in funding is crucial to a robust and publicly accountable exploration of possible cures for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases.

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers who oppose abortion had weighed in to support the embryonic studies, including Sen. Bill Frist, MD, (R, Tenn.). Frist has offered a limited funding proposal similar to what Bush announced.

In the wake of Bush's decision, science and patient groups say that they are going to actively lobby Congress to pass legislation that would permit stem cell research from all the excess embryos in the nation's in vitro fertility clinics.

This more generous federal support would be in line with what the Clinton Administration had proposed, but could face a Bush veto if it clears Congress.

There are an estimated 100,000 frozen in vitro embryos -- embryos that were created as part of the in vitro fertilization process but never used. Under current law, these leftover embryos can legally be discarded.

Bush also announced last night that Leon Kass, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago, would chair a new presidential stem cell council to monitor the research and help develop guidelines on studies.

Although scientists say that cloned human embryos can be sources of stem cells, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to ban all human cloning last month, and Bush reiterated his opposition to these activities.


Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

Solutions for 19 types.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
oatmeal and eggs
The best and worst for you.
neti pot
6 steps for nasal irrigation.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
stressed working woman
And how to fix them?
woman walking in fog
12 tips for managing your disease.
Healthy Snack
13 delicious options.
Woman running
10 ways to boost your metabolism.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
What are the top ones?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.