Bush vetoes US stem cell legislation

A veto of congressional stem cell legislation by President George W Bush "enhances not diminishes" the chances of a life-saving scientific breakthrough, according to US bishops spokesman, Cardinal Justin Rigali.

Earlier this month the US House of Representatives had passed the law approving stem cell research after the Senate passed the bill in April, Catholic Online reports

"I commend President Bush today for vetoing S5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act," said Cardinal Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities.

"... This bill would not actually enhance stem cell research, but divert federal funds away from legitimate research toward avenues requiring the destruction of innocent human life."

"The cause of science," he said, "is not enhanced but diminished when it loses its moral compass."

Cardinal Rigali also praised the president's issuance of an executive order directing the National Institutes of Health to explore "alternative, ethically acceptable" means for obtaining and using versatile or "pluripotent" stem cells.

"Recent discoveries regarding stem cells from cord blood and amniotic fluid and the reprogramming of ordinary adult cells to become pluripotent stem cells demonstrate that science not only raises new ethical questions, but at times can help address them," he said.

"Adult stem cells continue to produce new clinical advances on a regular basis, most recently showing benefits for patients with juvenile diabetes."

The cardinal called upon the Congress to join with the president in working toward enhancing ethical research that respects life.

"Tragically, some embryonic stem cell advocates in Congress have dismissed such advances or even greeted them with suspicion, as though medical progress were less genuine or praiseworthy when it respects early human life," he said.

"I urge them to follow the President's lead on this issue, by promoting research and therapies that everyone can live with."

Science lessened when loses moral compass, cardinal says, lauds embryo stem-cell veto (Catholic Online, 21/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Rigali (Archdiocese of Philadelphia)
George W Bush (Wikipedia)

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22 Jun 2007