Today, the United States House of Representatives, with its vote on the embryonic stem cell bill, chose to discard existing protections on human life. This bill puts scientific research and ethical principle into conflict, rather than supporting a balanced approach that advances scientific and medical frontiers without violating moral principles.
My Administration has sought to understand the dilemmas of stem cell research not as a choice between science and ethics, but as a challenge to advance medicine while meeting our solemn obligation to defend human life. That is why in 2001 I authorized the first federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells, under careful safeguards. This policy encouraged ethical research, while requiring taxpayer funds not be used to support the creation, destruction, or harming of living human embryos.
Recent scientific developments have reinforced my conviction that stem cell science can progress in ethical ways. Researchers have been investigating innovative techniques that could allow doctors and scientists to produce stem cells just as versatile as those derived from human embryos, but without harming life, and the House vote on this bill took place just after significant advances in stem cell research were reported in leading scientific journals. These reports give us added hope that we may one day enjoy the potential benefits of embryonic stem cells without destroying human life.
I am disappointed the leadership of Congress recycled an old bill that would simply overturn our country’s carefully balanced policy on embryonic stem cell research. If this bill were to become law, American taxpayers would for the first time in our history be compelled to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos. Crossing that line would be a grave mistake. For that reason, I will veto the bill passed today.