President George W. Bush vowed to veto the bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 7, which would allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
With the vote, lawmakers “chose to discard existing protections on human life,” he said in a statement from Germany, where he is participating in the G8 conference.
The U.S. president said he was disappointed that “the leadership of Congress recycled an old bill” that would overturn the 2001 Bush administration’s “carefully balanced policy on embryonic stem cell research.” Bush said his policy encourages ethical research but does not require taxpayer funds to support embryonic stem cell research.
“This [current] 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,” he stated.
On the day before the vote, Cardinal Justin Rigali issued yet another message, urging lawmakers to reject the legislation. Cardinal Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities.
In his June 6 letter to House members, Cardinal Rigali referred to two bills — S.5, on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and H.R. 2560, also referred to as the DeGette bill, which would allow human cloning.
The cardinal warned that embryonic stem cell research would require lawmakers and others to embrace “more and more egregious violations of moral norms in the effort to bring its ‘promise’ to fruition.” The cardinal was referring to the DeGette bill.
The DeGette bill, he said, “allows unlimited cloning of human embryos for research – and then makes it a crime to transfer the embryo to a womb to allow the new human being to survive.
“What it actually prohibits is the act of becoming pregnant – a kind of law seen chiefly until now in the People’s Republic of China, where women can be punished for carrying an unauthorized child,” he wrote.
“For the first time in U.S. law, Congress would define a class of new developing human beings that it is a crime not to destroy,” he stated.