In a USA Today/Gallup Poll taken two days after Bush
vetoed HR 810, a bill that would have opened up federal funding for embryonic stemcell research, the President’s approval rating dropped to 37 percent (down 3 points from two weeks earlier).
It also found that just 36 percent agreed with Bush’s decision to veto the bill, while 58 percent disapproved.
Confronted with these numbers, White House Deputy Press Secretary Ken Lisaius yesterday responded thusly:
“The president does not make policy decisions based on
polling numbers. … He vetoed the legislation because it would provide
federal tax dollars to fund the present and future destruction of human life for research.”
A third of those polled said Bush vetoed the bill for for political gain, by the way. But what of the inestimable gain to those suffering from diseases that stem cell research has the potential to mitigate or cure? Bush’s decision limits stem cell research to only the 22 lines in
existence before Bush’s ban five years ago. To put this in perspective,
just 3 percent of the half million embryos currently in storage could create up to 275 new lines, keeping research labs busy for decades to come.
Several states have taken matters into their own hands — Maryland,
Massachusetts and Connecticut have all allocated funds. However, New Jersey and Illinois are currently the only states doing actual research on new
embryonic stem cell lines. In California, where voters approved $3 billion
in 2004 for funding of ESCR, not a penny has gone to research — thanks to
James Dobson’s Focus on the
Family, an affiliate of which has the state locked in a court battle.
Last year, Dobson likened embryonic stem cell research to Nazi eugenics experiments conducted on live humans.