Week of 2001-JUL-2: USA: Republican leaders call for ban: Majority
Leader Dick Armey, Whip Tom DeLay and faith-based initiative booster J.C.
Watts called upon Mr. Bush to ban all funding for any stem cell
research. Their letter said, in part: "It is not pro-life to rely on an
industry of death, even if the intention is to find cures for diseases."
2001-JUL-5: USA: Republicans split on issue: A group of 60 moderate and pro-choice
sent a letter to the President asking him to fund embryonic stem cell
research. This was in response to an earlier letter by House Republican
leaders (Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and J.C. Watts) which opposed research.
2001-JUL-11: USA: Researchers create embryos to extract stem cells:
. The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, VA
issued a press release stating that they had paid 12 women between $1,500 and
$2,000 to extract their a total of 162 eggs. 110 were fertilized to
produce embryos so
that they could then extract their stem cells. They first obtained the
permission of the women before proceeding. They believe that the 40 newly created
embryos may be more desirable for their research programs than
readily-available embryos thawed out from liquid nitrogen storage.
2001-JUL-11: USA: Focus on the Family condemns stem cell
research:Focus on the Family is a very influential
Fundamentalist Christian organization centered in Colorado Springs, CO.
Their outreach director, Dr. Walt Larimore, appeared on their radio
program. He said that stem cell research is immoral, illegal and
unnecessary. Host of the program, Dr. James Dobson, said: "We're
talking about life here. We're not talking about little black dots, like
some people in Congress are referring to them."
2001-JUL-17: USA: United Church of Christ synod approves of stem
cell funding: Delegates to General Synod 23 of the UCC in Kansas City,
MO, urged President Bush to fund embryonic stem cell research. The
resolution calls on research to be conducted with "concern for justice,
privacy and access to the benefits of the research for all." 14
2001-JUL-23: Vatican: Pope condemns embryonic stem cell research:
President Bush met the Pope in a private meeting. In a later public
speech, the pope denounced "evils such as euthanasia, infanticide, and
most recently, proposals for the creation for research purposes of human
embryos, destined to destruction in the process....A free and virtuous
society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue
and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death."
2001-JUL-26: USA: Public opinion polls: A Washington Post - ABC
News poll showed that 63% of American adults favored stem-cell research,
33% opposed and 4% were undecided. margin of error is within 3%.
African-Americans at 50% are less supportive than whites at 65%. There was
little difference of opinion between Democrats and Republicans. College
graduates were more supportive at 76% than were persons with high school
completion or less at 56%. Persons earning over $75,000 were more
supportive, at 77% than those earning less than $30,000, at 54%.
2001-AUG-9: USA: President Bush allows limited stem cell funding:
President Bush said the issue was "one of the most profound of our
time." He decided to approve limited funding because stem cell
research offered immense promise for the cure of diseases and disorders.
But he said it was "important that we pay attention to the moral
concerns of the new frontier." Research would be limited to
what he said were 60 existing lines of stem cells that are being cultured in the lab; no new
embryos would be killed in order to extract cells. President Bush said: "As
I thought through this issue I kept returning to two fundamental
questions. First, are these frozen embryos human life and therefore
something precious to be protected? And second, if they're going to be
destroyed anyway, shouldn't they be used for a greater good, for research
that has the potential to save and improve other lives?"
A number of scientists who were interviewed expressed confusion over
Bush's statement that there are 60 existing stem cell lines. They believe
that there are perhaps only about a dozen lines, and that they do not have
sufficient genetic diversity. Also, some are owned by private labs and are
unlikely to make them available to government research programs. "Even
specialists in the field had been unaware there were more than 10 or 15
2001-AUG-13: Reaction to President Bush's announcement:
Reactions were strong and plentiful. Opinions depended on whether or not
the individual or group considers an embryo to be a human person. Some
statements show a profound lack of knowledge the nature of embryos and
stem cells. Some seem to misunderstand the President's statement:
Covenant News, a conservative Christian news service, chose "Bush Okays Murder"
as their headline.
A Gallup Poll revealed that half of Americans approved Bush's
decision; 25% disapproved and 25% are uncertain.
Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, President of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops condemned President Bush's decision: "...the
trade-off he has announced is morally unacceptable: The federal
government, for the first time in history, will support research that
relies on the destruction of some defenseless human beings for the
possible benefit to others. However such a decision is hedged about with
qualifications, it allows our nation's research enterprise to cultivate
a disrespect for human life...We hope and pray that President Bush will
return to a principled stand against treating some human lives as
nothing more than objects to be manipulated and destroyed for research
purposes. As we face a new century of powerful and sometimes even
frightening advances in biotechnology, we must help ensure that our
technical advances will serve rather than demean our very humanity."
[Bishop Fiorenza seems to be unaware that President Bush has forbidden
the future manipulation and destruction of embryos.]
Pat Robertson congratulated the president. He said: "I believe
that President Bush provided an elegant solution to the thorny issue.
...The president has balanced the profound ethical concerns of those of
us who deplore the wanton destruction of the unborn with the heartfelt
concerns of the population who desire legitimate, scientific research."
One of the most influential Fundamentalist pastors,
Jerry Falwell, stated in his "Falwell Confidential" newsletter: "With
great pressure weighing on him from those who want unlimited research on
human embryos, I believe Mr. Bush adopted the only viable solution to
this moral puzzle. The fact is that, while our hearts go out to those
who urgently seek physical help from stem-cell research, as a follower
of Christ, I simply cannot warrant the destruction of one life in order
to save another."
Judie Brown, president of American Life League said of
President Bush: "He can no longer describe himself as pro-life."
Pathway Communications maintains The Nuremberg Files,
a list of abortion providers and their supporters in politics, the
courts and law enforcement. They have added George W. Bush's name to
their list. 5
Wendy Wright, spokesperson the Concerned Women for America
said: "The president's position contradicts the Nuremberg Code,
ethical guidelines set down after World War II, which prohibits
experimentation that knowingly causes injury or death to a human being.
We should be horrified at the prospect of participating in research on
embryos who were deliberately killed for the same reason that we are
horrified that the gold fillings were taken from the teeth of Holocaust
victims. The president forgot that one dimension of respect for life is
respect for the remains of the dead." 6
Lori Cole, spokesperson for Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum,
said: "President Bush broke his word to the American people. Congress
should immediately reinforce the 1995 law to ensure that all embryos
will be protected [from] experimental research, regardless of who pays
for it." 6 [Cole seems to be unaware
that the President's decision protects all existing and future embryos.]
Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council hopes
that most pro-lifers will eventually condemn President Bush's decision:
"I suspect that over the course of [time], with greater opportunity
for sober and more deliberative reflection on their part, some of these
people are going to have increasing questions and a greater discomfort
... about the president's decision." 6
Laura Echevarria, spokesperson for the National Right to Life
Committee said: "We are delighted that President Bush' decision
prevents the federal government from becoming a party to any further
killing of human embryos for medical experimentation." She is
reported as saying that the demand for adoptive embryos exceeds the
supply. This is confusing because there have been fewer than a dozen
embryos out of the 110,000 available frozen embryos which have been
adopted by parents. 7
Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Focus on the Family
praised Bush, saying that: "President Bush faced tremendous political
pressure to betray his pro-life commitment. He has courageously upheld
his promise to protect unborn children. He deserves praise from citizens
who understand that it is never justified to destroy one life in order
to possibly save another." 7,8 However,
since early August, 2001 when he made that statement, Focus on the Family
seems to have reversed its stance and brought its thinking in line
with other Fundamentalist groups. On OCT-14, Carrie Gordon Earll, a
biomedical ethicist at Focus is quoted as saying: "We're opposed to
embryonic stem cell research, and that's an essential clarification in
all of this." 9
Judie Brown, president of American Life League, said: "Countless
millions of real human persons will lose their lives as a direct
consequence of President Bush's decision to authorize federal funding
for stem cell research." [It is unclear what she means by this
statement. The President's decision forbids any additional extraction of
stem cells from embryos. So no embryos will lose their lives]
Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America commented: "The
President has embraced the hair-splitting logic of the previous
Administration in pretending that it is wrong to conduct experiments on
someone you have killed yourself, but right to do so on someone who has
been killed by another. The critical moral question is not who killed
the victim, but rather shall we profit from that killing?"
Gary Bauer, a former pro-life Presidential candidate predicted: "You're
already opening up Pandora's box here. Let's say that we find that the
research does help in some way to cure a particular disease. Then we're
going to have demands for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of
human embryo tissues which will in fact result in the destruction of
human life." [He overlooks the ability of stem cells to grow in the
Bill Koenig, author of Koenig's International News commented
that President Bush's stem cell decision induced a response by God in
the form of an earthquake 19 hours later in Northern California, and a
warning from NOAA's National Hurricane Center of an increase in
their prediction of the number of tropical storms to hit the U.S. during
the current tropical storm season. Koenig's news reports often link
American responses to the Israeli-Palestinian war, granting of equal
rights to gays and lesbians, abortion access developments and stem cell
research to natural disasters. 10 He later interpreted
the 2001-SEP-11 terrorist attack on World Trade Towers and the Pentagon
as God's response to the U.S. support of a peace settlement between
Israel and the PLO.
2001-AUG-16: PA: Embryonic stem cell research approved:
Governor Tom Ridge (R) has approved stem cell research in the state, as
long as the embryos from which the stem cells were extracted come from
another state. An existing law of 1989 prohibits embryos from being
destroyed for medical research in the state.
2001-AUG-21: Pro-life / Anti-Bush editorial: Joseph Farah heads
up www.WorldNetDaily.com In his
daily column, "This way, Dr. Mengele," he wrote: "What Bush's
decision did was establish that the U.S. government will support
experimentation on living human tissue. He may think he imposed limits on
such experimentation, but, in reality, he opened the door to unlimited,
unrestricted, wholesale research on living human tissue....Only those who
believe they have a right to play God and decide that some human life is
more valuable than other human life could come to such a
conclusion....another holocaust is not only a good possibility in such an
environment, it's practically an inevitability."
2001-AUG-22: More pro-life, anti-Bush articles: All of the
writers accept, but do not justify, a belief that pre-embryos are human
Cal Thomas commented that President Bush "has established --
morally, politically and ethically -- the principle that it is
permissible to experiment on a living component of the human race, even
for the presumed benefit of other members of the human race....Courts
have long held that to allow government to benefit from a wrongful act
provides an unhealthy incentive to persist in such acts.''
Alan Keyes wrote for the Declaration Foundation: "
From now on, this government will encourage research that is only
possible if human lives are, or have been, intentionally destroyed. Even
if, as most Americans, including the President, believe, the killing of
embryos is morally wrong, the policy means that it is a kind of good
fortune, a 'windfall,' that some have already been killed for the sake
of using their parts, and we may, without moral peril, invite the
research community to see what use can be made of their remains. But
there would be no such parts if those who killed human beings to use
them as lab fodder thought there would be sanctions against this
barbarism...Even if there are benefits from killing the innocent, we
don't have the right to derive those benefits at the expense of human
dignity. It is as simple as that."
Christopher Linstrom, MD, wrote in the American
Medical News: "Do we now purposefully create a secondary class of the
"unwanted" (embryos, fetuses, abortuses, neonates, etc.) for the use of
medical research? I find this morally and ethically reprehensible for
the same reason I find elective abortion, infanticide and capital
punishment unacceptable. It undermines the basic value of each and every
person to have his or her own life held as inviolable from the time of
conception until natural death."
2001-AUG-22: Christian poll shows support for Bush's decision:
Best of the Christian Web (BOTW) at
http://www.botcw.com is a conservative
Christian web site. They are holding a public opinion poll on President
Bush's decision. They write that "Some say this is a positive move to
protect embryos. Others say that any use of embryonic stem cells is wrong."
They asked: "Did President Bush make the
right decision in allowing limited research on stem cells?"
Results as of 2001-AUG-22 at 1:20 PM ET were: Yes
52; No 35. Unfortunately, the "no" votes will include those who felt
that his decision is too restrictive and those who felt that it is too
liberal. This happens from time to time in public opinion polls.
2001-AUG-23: Stem cell lines may all be unusable: The
Washington Post reported that: "The human embryonic stem cell lines
reported in scientific literature were all grown in direct contact with
mouse cells and might have picked up mouse viruses." This may well
preclude their use in clinical trials on humans. Meanwhile, according to
the President's policy, no new stem cell lines can be created for
government lab research.
Kevin Ryder is a consultant to the American Cell Therapy Research
Foundation, a group that supports research into cell research. "This
would be the exclamation point on an already lengthy list of questions
about the quantity and quality of the cell lines eligible for research
funding under the Bush policy. We would have a very difficult time
getting those advanced into the clinical setting unless we get the FDA
to make some exceptions down the road."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) said: "The president's going to have to
make available lines of stem cells that will be available for the full
measure of research anticipated," said "If he doesn't, Congress
will need to act to make that happen."
White House advisor, Jay Lefkowitz, said that the president was
aware of the problem. However, he felt that it was not a serious
problem. By the time that clinical trials are needed, he felt that
scientiests could grow stem cells without mouse cells, or will be able
to work within the FDA guidelines. [Editor's note: With
all of the stem cell lines produced before 2001-AUG-9 unusable because
of the presence of mouse cells, and with all of the stem cell lines
produced after that date unusable because of presidential decree, it is
difficult to see how new, safe stem cell lines can be created.]
2001-AUG-27: National Institutes of Health release stem cell
info: "The National Institutes of Health tallied 64 cell lines from
'genetically diverse' embryos. Each was derived from excess embryos
created to help couples have children. Each was voluntarily donated before
the Aug. 9 date designated by Bush." 11 However,
they are only of limited usefulness, and are
only a stop-gap solution.
2001-AUG-26: Alan Keyes criticized President Bush: Former GOP
presidential candidate Alan Keyes attacked President Bush's decision on
stem cells. As keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by the
National Federation of Republican Assemblies and the Leadership
Institute, Keyes said: "I cannot support leadership that sits in
the backroom trying to figure out how much harm can be done without
opposition." He said that Bush's decision was more damaging than anything
that Bill Clinton, often called the villain of the right, could have done.
"The evil that you know, the evil that inspires you to fight again is
not the worst evil," Keyes said. "The worst evil creeps behind your
lines and dominates your leadership." He said that abortion rights
supporters: "...will come back and say it's hypocritical to not support
abortion but to support stem cell research." 12
A Georgian delegate to the conference, Carolyn Cosby, said the president
is a disappointment to the conservative movement. She said "He's a
traitor to the conservatives who elected him, and the stem cell research
is just one example of a litany of public policy moves he has made that
are betraying the conservative agenda in this country." Referring to
Alan Keyes, she added: "We need conservative voices to rise and
challenge a president who is acting like a traitor to those he promised to
2001-AUG-29: Australian researchers harvest stem cells:
Professor Robert Jansen, medical director of Sydney IVF, revealed that he
had extracted stem cells from fewer than ten spare embryos donated for
research. His team was unable to get a self-replicating colony yet, "but
we think we're pretty close." They intend to do research into a cure
or treatment for Type 1 diabetes -- the form of diabetes that typically
affects young persons, and often leads to blindness, heart disease, kidney
disease and the need for amputations later in life. The research was
approved by the clinic's independent ethics review committee and was
conducted within the 1996 guidelines of the Australian Health Ethics
Committee. A ten person Australian parliamentary committee is expected
to vote 6 to 4 in favor of permitting such experimentation next month.