28 Jan State of the Union: Bush endorses funding for stem cell research that does not destroy embryos
Washington, D.C. – In his final State of the Union address, President Bush praised a recent discovery that produces cells that act as human embryonic stem cells without destroying human embryos, and indicated his support for expanded federal funding for such research.
While Bush stopped short of making a specific funding proposal, he urged assembled members of Congress to expand funding for stem cell research that does not destroy embryos.
Bush has directed federal agencies to provide new funding for stem cell research that does not harm human embryos. In recent weeks, he has said that new research has reaffirmed his policy to support non-destructive research methods, including the reprogramming adult cells, such as skin cells, to make them function like embryonic stem cells, and a more recent announcement that scientists have discovered that cells extracted from amniotic fluid and placentas could also provide pluripotent stem cells that seem to function like embryonic stem cells.
Bush has vetoed two bills to expand federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research beyond existing stem cell lines because the technique that derived those cells involved the destruction of embryos. Bush banned additional federal funding for such research in 2001, but in his State of the Union address praised the work of the scientists who made the recent discoveries.
They include the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s James Thomson, who in 1998 was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells. In November of 2007, Thomson was among the scientists in Wisconsin and Japan who announced that they have reprogrammed human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells.
During the State of the Union, he also called on Congress to ban unethical scientific practices, which he identified as the “buying, selling, patenting, or cloning” of human life.
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