Majority opposes federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research

A majority of Americans, 52 percent, oppose federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research while 36 percent of Americans support it, says a new poll.

The Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commissioned the poll, conducted by International Communications Research.

Government funding for embryonic stem-cell research is being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, which may soon vote on a bill (H.R. 810).

When respondents were told that scientists could not agree on whether embryonic stem cells or adult stem cells would be most successful in treating diseases, they responded 60 percent in favor of funding only research that raises no moral problem. Only 22 percent favored funding all stem-cell research, including the kind that involves destroying embryos.

“It is always wrong for government to promote the destruction of innocent human life,” said Richard M. Doerflinger, deputy director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. Embryonic stem-cell research requires the destruction of the embryo.

“To do so when a clear majority of the taxpayers themselves reject this approach would be especially irresponsible,” Doerflinger said.

International Communications Research polled a weighted sample of 1,010 adults, May 6-11. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

Public opinion against embryonic stem-cell research has increased in the last eight months. In August 2004, an identical poll showed that Americans opposed funding the research 47 percent to 43 percent.

The new findings are also consistent with a recent Winston Group poll of Republicans commissioned by GOP Congressmen supporting H.R. 810. That poll showed just 36 percent of Republicans in favor of expanded federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, and 58 percent in favor of limited or no government funding.

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