Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Act

Orders Research on Non-Embryonic Lines

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Before vetoing a bill that would promote embryonic stem cell research, U.S. President George Bush issued an order to promote research on pluripotent stem cells "derived by ethically responsible techniques."

Bush used his veto power today to kill the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, a bill he said "would compel American taxpayers -- for the first time in our history -- to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos."

The president said at a press conference that "our conscience calls us to pursue the possibilities of science in a manner that respects human dignity and upholds our moral values."

In his executive order, titled "Expanding Approved Stem Cell Lines in Ethically Responsible Ways," the president ordered research on alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells.

These stem cell lines, according to the executive order, are those that are "derived without creating a human embryo for research purposes or destroying, discarding, or subjecting to harm a human embryo or fetus."

The president also stated in the document that the "Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry" will be renamed the "Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry," and that stem cell lines not derived from human embryos will be added to the registry.

"It is critical," according to the document, "to establish moral and ethical boundaries to allow the nation to move forward vigorously with medical research, while also maintaining the highest ethical standards and respecting human life and human dignity."

The executive order stated: "The destruction of nascent life for research violates the principle that no life should be used as a mere means for achieving the medical benefit of another.

"Human embryos and fetuses, as living members of the human species, are not raw materials to be exploited or commodities to be bought and sold."

The document defines the human embryo as "any organism ... that is derived by fertilization, partheno­genesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes or human diploid cells."