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Bush vetoes bill easing funding limits on embryonic stem cell research

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush Wednesday followed through on his promised veto [press release] of a Democrat-backed bill that would have relaxed funding restrictions on embryonic stem cell research [S 5 materials]. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, sent by Congress to the White House earlier this month [JURIST report], would have allowed federal funding for research using stem cells [JURIST news archive] from embryos that would otherwise be discarded from fertility clinics. It required that "individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the embryos with written informed consent and without receiving any financial or other inducements to make the donation." The Bush administration said the bill would for the first time compel taxpayers to support the destruction of human embryos, a "moral line" the president would not allow the nation to cross. In answer to criticisms of his stance, Bush also signed an executive order [text] to expand stem cell research in "ethically responsible ways" by seeking out alternative sources.

This is the third time President Bush has used the veto power during his presidency. Earlier this year he vetoed the war spending bill [JURIST report] that established a timetable for US troops to begin pulling out of Iraq. Last year, Bush vetoed [JURIST report] the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 [PDF text; HR 810 summary], again saying he would not provide federal funding for stem cell research because many consider the destruction of embryos to be murder [press briefing]. AP has more.

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