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Bush Administration Blocks Life-Saving Scientific Research For Five Years

From DNC Press Office

Immediate Release
August 9, 2006

Contact: Stacie Paxton/Mark Paustenbach at 202-863-8148

Washington, DC - Today marks the fifth anniversary of President Bush's decision to ignore sound science, play partisan political games and deny hope to millions of Americans. Five years ago, President Bush declared that his Administration would ban federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Bush used his first prime time address, and five years later, exercised his first veto to stop expansion of life-saving research. Democrats strongly support increasing federal funding for stem cell research.

"For five years, President Bush has put ideology and politics ahead of sound science and denied hope to millions of Americans by limiting stem cell research," said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton. "Instead of using his first prime time address to unveil a hopeful agenda or using his first veto to rein in reckless Republican fiscal policies, President Bush used his office to push his right-wing agenda. The Bush Administration has made it clear that patients and families with loved ones who suffer from Diabetes, spinal cord injuries and Alzheimer's cannot trust Republicans to do what's best for them. Democrats support investments in life-saving research like stem cells and the hope of new cures and treatments that it offers."

Bush: Federal Research Can Only Be Done On Small Number Of Existing Stem Cell Lines; Bans Funding For More Research. "As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist. They were created from embryos that have already been destroyed, and they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating ongoing opportunities for research. I 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." [President Bush, August 9, 2001]

Stem Cells Bush Lauded In 2001 Were Contaminated And Unusable. "In August 2001, Bush announced that his administration would allow federal funding only for research on about 60 stem-cell lines that existed at the time. Researchers have since found that many of those lines are contaminated and unusable for research." [, July 20, 2006]

Bush Administration Claims About Adult Stem Cells Rebutted By Experts. White House Advisor Karl Rove told the Denver Post' editorial board that researchers have found "far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells." But, the journal Science published a letter from three researchers criticizing the claim that adult stem cells are preferable to embryonic stem cells. The authors included Dr. Steven Teitelbaum of Washington University in St. Louis, who has used adult stem cells to treat bone diseases in children. The authors wrote that the exaggerated claims for adult stem cells "mislead laypeople and cruelly deceive patients." A White House White House spokesman "could not provide the name of a stem cell researcher who shares Rove's views on the superior promise of adult stem cells." The Chicago Tribune also noted that "many scientists and lawmakers' believe Bush's decision to ban federal funding for further embryonic stem cell research “has hindered progress." [Chicago Tribune, July 19, 2006]

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