The Senate voted to lift restrictions on federally funded human embryonic stem cell research yesterday, setting the table for President Bush's first veto and producing an emotional campaign issue that Democrats believe will help them this fall.
Senators voted 63 to 37 to approve a House-passed bill that would pour millions of dollars into a field of medical research that is promising -- but also controversial because it requires destroying human embryos to extract the cells. Bush announced in his first nationally televised address, on Aug. 9, 2001, that he would ban government funding for research using embryonic stem cell colonies created after that date, and he has vowed to cast his first presidential veto to block the legislation rescinding his executive order.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said Bush's veto "will be pretty swift" once he receives the bill, possibly as soon as today.
Bush decides to use his veto power for the first time to do what? To destroy perfectly good embryos rather than allowing them to be used to fight disease:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who has had two types of cancer, said he thinks "it is a clear-cut question to use embryos to save lives, because otherwise they will be destroyed." Fertility clinics hold about 400,000 unneeded embryos, he said, and only 128 have been "adopted" by couples who played no role in creating them. "A century from now, people will look back in amazement that we could even have this debate when the issues are so clearly cut," he said.