Bush uses his first veto ever on stem cell bill

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

U.S. President George W. Bush has used the first veto of his presidency on a bill for federal funding of scientific research which uses embryonic stem cells. The bill aimed to increase the number of stem cells lines in federally funded science. Despite the veto, the destruction of embryos to extract stem cells will still take place in scientific research; the research will simply not be funded by the federal government. It is illegal in the United States to create (through conception) embryos for the purpose of scientific research.

The bill had passed in the Senate 63-37, four votes short of a 2/3 majority needed to override the President's veto. The bill will go back to the House and Senate.

Bush had previously announced that he would veto this bill.

Bush described it as a step that would cross a "moral line". "This bill would support the taking of innocent human life," Mr. Bush said at the White House while surrounded by parents and children that were born as part of an embryo-adoption programme. "Each of these human embryos is a unique human life with inherent dignity and matchless value. These boys and girls are not spare parts."

Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader, said "the veto amounted to saying 'no' to hope. It is up to members of Congress to represent their constituents and vote to override the veto."

Many high-profile organizations — such as the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research — were actively advocating the passage of the bill.

  • Update: Thursday, July 20, 2006

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to override Bush's veto. The final vote was 235-193, which was 51 short of the 2/3 majority needed for a veto override.