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In a USA Today/Gallup Poll taken two days after Bush vetoed HR 810, a bill that would have opened up federal funding for embryonic stemcell research, the President's approval rating dropped to 37 percent (down 3 points from two weeks earlier).
It also found that just 36 percent agreed with Bush's decision to veto the bill, while 58 percent disapproved.
Confronted with these numbers, White House Deputy Press Secretary Ken Lisaius yesterday responded thusly:
"The president does not make policy decisions based on polling numbers. ... He vetoed the legislation because it would provide federal tax dollars to fund the present and future destruction of human life for research."
A third of those polled said Bush vetoed the bill for for political gain, by the way. But what of the inestimable gain to those suffering from diseases that stem cell research has the potential to mitigate or cure? Bush's decision limits stem cell research to only the 22 lines in existence before Bush's ban five years ago. To put this in perspective, just 3 percent of the half million embryos currently in storage could create up to 275 new lines, keeping research labs busy for decades to come.
Several states have taken matters into their own hands Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut have all allocated funds. However, New Jersey and Illinois are currently the only states doing actual research on new embryonic stem cell lines. In California, where voters approved $3 billion in 2004 for funding of ESCR, not a penny has gone to research -- thanks to James Dobson's Focus on the Family, an affiliate of which has the state locked in a court battle. Last year, Dobson likened embryonic stem cell research to Nazi eugenics experiments conducted on live humans.