3 Republican Leaders Warn Bush on Stem Cell Work

Urge Him Not to Give In to «an Industry of Death»

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).- President George W. Bush is feeling the pressure from both sides on the issue of whether to support embryonic stem cell research.

Just days after 38 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter urging Bush to support the research, three of the party´s leaders sent an admonition to not give in to «an industry of death,» the Washington Post reported.

Representatives Richard K. Armey, Tom DeLay and J.C. Watts — the House majority leader, majority whip and Republican conference chairman, respectively — said in a statement: «The federal government cannot morally look the other way with respect to the destruction of human embryos, then accept and pay for extracted stem cells for the purpose of medical research.»

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, another leading Republican, did not sign the statement, but his spokesman said he has voiced concerns about the ethics of the research.

The issue confronting Bush is whether to go along with a Clinton administration plan to fund experiments on cells taken from days-old human embryos.

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health say the research offers the promise of breakthrough treatments and cures for diseases such as Parkinson´s, Alzheimer´s and diabetes. Opponents compare stem cell research to abortion, noting that it entails the destruction of tiny human lives.

As Bush has neared a decision, the lobbying has intensified. And for the first time since taking office, Bush faces a sharply divided party on an emotional issue.
<br> In recent days, several prominent anti-abortion officials have endorsed the research. Senator Orrin G. Hatch claimed in a letter to the Bush administration that the president can support the work and remain true to his religious beliefs. Other pro-research Republican politicians are Senators Strom Thurmond, Gordon Smith and John McCain.

Armey, DeLay and Watts countered assertions that it is possible to be both «pro-life» and «pro-stem cell.»

«It is not pro-life to rely on an industry of death, even if the intention is to find cures for diseases,» they said.

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