Pro-Life Republicans Urge Stem-Cell Research

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

( - Some pro-life Republicans are urging President Bush to support stem-cell research involving human embryos, a position strongly opposed by those who believe life begins at conception.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), an abortion opponent, has sent a ten-page letter to President Bush, saying he has "rarely, if ever, observed such genuine excitement for the prospects of future progress than is presented by embryonic stem cell research." Hatch and other pro-life Republicans - Sens. Connie Mack of Fla., Gordon Smith of Ore., and Strom Thurmond of S.C. -- said they want Bush to "lead the way for this vital research."

The Bush administration has not yet announced its policy on federal funding for stem cell research involving human embryos, although Bush has said he opposes it.

He is under tremendous pressure from all sides, and no matter what he decides, he will be roundly blasted for making the "wrong" decision.

Staunch pro-life advocates say life is life, at the moment of conception, and that is that.

But Hatch and others say the ultimate "pro-life" position is one that allows for research into life-saving treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.

Congress has passed a law banning federal funding for research that involves the destruction of human embryos. The Clinton administration found a loophole, however, and decided to allow federal funding for stem-cell research, as long as the cells were "harvested" by private groups.

When President Bush took office, he suspended the Clinton interpretation of the law, and he is now in the process of deciding whether federal funds should be used for any research involving stem cells from human embryos or aborted fetuses.

A decision is expected next month.

In a related development, the Bush administration told Congress on Wednesday that it supports legislation that would make human cloning a federal crime. The bill backed by the administration would outlaw the creation of babies from cloning, as well as the creation of cloned human embryos for research purposes.

See Related Stories:
Judge Intervenes In Stem Cell Research (10 May 2001)
Bush Administration Hesitates On Stem Cell Research (26 April 2001)
Bush Asked To Support 'Save All Stem Cells' Drive (23 March 2001)