Magazine article Newsweek

More Political Science; as a Stem-Cell Bill Passes, New Research Alters the Debate

Magazine article Newsweek

More Political Science; as a Stem-Cell Bill Passes, New Research Alters the Debate

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Wolffe (With MARY CARMICHAEL)

Last summer President Bush invited several scientists to the Oval Office to revisit one of his earliest--and most contro-versial--decisions: to fund, but strictly limit, stem-cell research. Bush wanted to explore the impact of his 2001 policy to approve research only on existing stem cells drawn from human embryos. So he asked the scientists about the viability of the 21 approved stem-cell lines. And he quizzed them about possible contamination with mouse cells. One month later, he issued the first veto of his presidency against an expansion of stem-cell research.

With a new Democratic-led Congress, Bush is now facing a greater political challenge than he was then. Last week House Democrats voted once again to approve funding for research using stem cells drawn from embryos slated for destruction at fertility clinics. The final vote fell short of a veto-proof majority, and the White House promised to block it again.

But this time around, Bush's aides feel far more confident about winning the broader debate--even though they have lost control of Congress. The reason: science itself. New research published this month suggests there is an encouraging alternative to embryonic stem cells and the adult stem cells that pose no ethics constraints. …

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