C.I.A. Confidential

Stemming the Tide

On August 9, 2001, during a speech from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President George W. Bush put an end to several months of debate surrounding government funding of research on stem cells derived from human embryos.  After discussing his administration’s research into the matter and declaring his own “deeply held beliefs” in science and technology and that “human life is a sacred gift from our Creator,” President Bush announced his decision:

As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist.  hey were created from embryos that have already been destroyed, and they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating ongoing opportunities for research.   have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where the life and death decision has already been made.

Leading scientists tell me research on these 60 lines has great promise that could lead to breakthrough therapies and cures.  his allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research without crossing a fundamental moral line, by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos that have at least the potential for life.

The President’s speech was widely hailed as an acceptable compromise...

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