Tuesday, May 31, 2005

BUSH ON STEM CELLS Who said the filibuster is dead? Here's the President at today's press conference:
QUESTION: Last week, you made clear that you don't think there's any such thing as a spare embryo.

Given that position, what is your view of fertility treatments that routinely create more embryos that never result in full-term pregnancies? And what do you believe should be done with those embryos that never do become pregnancies or result in the birth of a child?

BUSH: As you know, I also had an event here at the White House with little babies that had been born as a result of the embryos that had been frozen -- they're called snowflakes--indicating there was an alternative to destruction of life.

But the stem cell issue is really one of federal funding. That's the issue before us. And that is whether or not we use taxpayers' monies to destroy life in order to hopefully find cure for terrible disease. And I have made my position very clear on that issue, and that is, I don't believe we should.

Now, I made a decision a while ago that said there had been some existing stem cells and therefore it was OK to use federal funds on those because the life decision had already been made.

But from that point going forward I felt it was best to stand on principle, and that is, taxpayers' monies for the use of experimentation that would destroy life is a principle that violates something I -- I mean, is a position that violates a principle of mine.

And I stand strong on that, to the point where I'll veto the bill as it now exists.

And having said that, it's important for the American people to know that there is some federal research going on on embryonic stem cells today. There's been over 600 experiments based upon the stem cell lines that existed prior to my decision. There's another 3,000 potential experiments they tell me that can go forward. There's a lot of research going on on adult stem cell research.

We got an ethics panel that has been -- that is in place that will help us hopefully develop ways to continue to figure out how to meet the demands of science and the need for ethics, so that we can help solve some of these diseases.

And listen, I understand the folks that are deeply concerned for their child who might have juvenile diabetes. I know that the moms and dads across the country -- in agony about the fate of their child. And my message to them is is that there is research going on, and hopefully we'll find the cure, but at the same time, it's important in this society to balance ethics and science.
Talk about a non-answer...

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.