Executive Office of the President
Office of Management and Budget
Washington, D.C. 20503
May 24, 2005
Statement of Administration Policy
H.R. 810 - Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005
(Rep. Castle (R) DE and 200 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 810, which would
require Federal taxpayer dollars to be used to encourage the ongoing destruction
of nascent human life. The bill would compel all American taxpayers to pay for
research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos for the
derivation of stem cells, overturning the President's policy that supports
research without promoting such ongoing destruction. If H.R. 810 were presented
to the President, he would veto the bill.
The President strongly supports medical research, and worked with Congress to
dramatically increase resources for the National Institutes of Health. However,
this bill would support and encourage a line of research that requires the
intentional destruction of living human embryos for the derivation of their
cells. Destroying nascent human life for research raises serious ethical
problems, and many millions of Americans consider the practice immoral.
The Administration believes that government has a duty to use the people's
money responsibly, both supporting important public purposes and respecting
moral boundaries. Every year since 1995, Congress has on a bipartisan basis
upheld this balance by prohibiting Federal funds for research in which an embryo
is destroyed. Consistent with this provision, the President's policy permits the
funding of research using embryonic cell lines created prior to August 9, 2001,
along with stem cell research using other kinds of cell lines. Scientists can
therefore explore the potential application of such cells, but the Federal
government does not offer incentives or encouragement for the destruction of
nascent human life.
H.R. 810 seeks to replace that policy with one that offers very little
additional practical support to the research, while using Federal dollars to
offer a prospective incentive for the destruction of human embryos. Moreover,
H.R. 810 relies on unsupported scientific assertions to promote morally
troubling and socially controversial research. Embryonic stem cell research is
at an early stage of basic science, and has never yielded a therapeutic
application in humans. It is too early to say if a treatment or a cure will
develop from embryonic stem cell research.
The Administration believes that the availability of alternative sources of
stem cells further counters the case for compelling the American taxpayer to
encourage the ongoing destruction of human embryos for research. Researchers are
continually exploring alternative ways to derive pluripotent stem cells. And
alternative types of human stem cells -- drawn from adults, children, and
umbilical-cord blood without doing harm to the donors -- have already achieved
therapeutic results in thousands of patients with dozens of different diseases.
Moreover, private sector support and public funding by several States for
this line of research, which will add up to several billion dollars in the
coming few years, argues against any urgent need for an additional infusion of
Federal funds which, even if completely unrestricted, would not approach such
figures. Whatever one's view of the ethical issues or the state of the research,
the future of this field does not require a policy of Federal subsidies
offensive to the moral principles of millions of Americans.
H.R. 810 advances the proposition that the Nation must choose between science
and ethics. The Administration, however, believes it is possible to advance
scientific research without violating ethical principles: both by enacting the
appropriate policy safeguards and by pursuing the appropriate scientific
techniques. H.R. 810 is seriously flawed legislation that would undo those
safeguards and provide a disincentive to pursuing those techniques.