.- Catholic groups were pleased with President George Bush’s veto yesterday of a bill that would have provided federal funds for research in which human embryos are destroyed. The veto was the president’s first in his five-and-a-half year administration.
In a written statement, Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, thanked God for a president who acknowledges that embryos are new human life and that it is wrong to kill them.
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, said a majority of senators “voted to expand the war on human dignity by voting to federally fund scientific research that requires destroying human embryos."
He commended Bush “for having the courage to stand up for the American concepts of human rights and human dignity. A nation that looks to use human beings as commodities is destined to decay and collapse."
Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, also thanked Bush for vetoing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.
"This stem cell bill is eminently worthy of President Bush's first veto," Anderson said. "It is profoundly immoral to create human life in order to destroy it, whatever the theoretical benefit might be.” To date, more successful therapies have been derived research on adult stem cells, he pointed out.
Anderson also called on members of Congress to focus on stem-cell research, “that does not violate basic human dignity."
"In this new era, our challenge is to harness the power of science to ease human suffering without sanctioning the practices that violate the dignity of human life," Bush said in the East Room of the White House after vetoing the measure.
The President announced his veto surrounded by 18 families who "adopted" frozen embryos not used by other couples to have children, otherwise known as "snowflake babies."
"Each of these children was still adopted while still an embryo and has been blessed with a chance to grow, to grow up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare parts," Bush said after several interruptions of applause from supporters. "They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research. They remind us that we all begin our lives as a small collection of cells. And they remind us that in our zeal for new treatments and cures, America must never abandon our fundamental morals."
In August 2001, Bush permitted existing federal research to continue, but has fervently advocated against increased government funding.
The vetoed bill will go back to Capitol Hill for debate and vote in the House and Senate. Political analysts believe that the president’s veto will not receive the necessary votes needed to override it. However, Democrats have vowed to press Republicans in Congress to pass the bill.
Bush signed another bill, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate that would ban "fetal farming," the prospect of raising and aborting fetuses for scientific research.