President Obama is planning to sign an executive order Monday to overturn Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research, according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations.
Obama’s move will be hailed by advocates for those suffering from a host of afflictions, ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, who believe that an expansion of stem cell research could boost medical progress toward eradicating the debilitating diseases. But many conservatives object to the destruction of human embryos because they contend it ends a human life. The officials said the administration is planning a Monday event at the White House in which Obama will overturn the executive order signed by President Bush in August 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time. Interactive: Unlocking the promise of stem cells » Bush also twice vetoed legislation, in July 2006 and June 2007, that would have expanded federally funded embryonic stem cell research.
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At the time, Bush said that because of scientific advances, researchers could conduct groundbreaking research without destroying human embryos. Bush’s moves led to Democratic charges that he had put politics over science.