Richard M. Doerflinger is Deputy Director for Pro-life activities of U.S. Bishops conference. Here is his statement made Wednesday (July 19th) at the White House after the presidential veto of the bill which would have forced U.S. taxpayers to finance the destruction of human embryos for their stem cells.
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We commend President Bush today for his remarks and actions regarding proposed legislation on stem cell research.
In a major address in the East Room of the White House, the president insisted that progress in treating devastating diseases must be pursued in ways that are both effective and morally sound.
Illustrating his theme was the presence in the East Room of children who were adopted when they were "spare" frozen embryos, and of patients who are grateful for the treatments they received for brain damage, leukemia and other conditions using adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells. Their support for the president's approach dramatized the need to uphold all human lives equally, not destroy some in the quest to help others.
Prior to his speech, the president vetoed H.R. 810, which would have forced U.S. taxpayers to encourage the destruction of human embryos for their stem cells. He also signed into law S. 3504, a bill unanimously approved by both chambers of Congress to prevent the grotesque practice of "farming" unborn children in human or animal wombs in order to harvest their tissue for research.
A third bill, to fund ways to obtain cells with the properties of embryonic stem cells without creating or harming human embryos (S. 2754), was unfortunately not before the president today, because it failed to receive the two-thirds support needed for expedited approval in the House despite receiving unanimous Senate approval. However, we are grateful that the president said he will use his executive authority to ensure that this promising avenue of research is funded.
We join the president in inviting Congress and the scientific community to work together on this issue for the good of all. As he said in his address, ethics and science must not be placed at odds, but work together to serve the cause of humanity.