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Pressure on Bush Builds as Debate Over Stem Cell Research Escalates

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Hearings held both in the House and Senate in mid-July featured passionate arguments from opponents and supporters alike of federally funded embryonic stem cell research.

At the House hearing of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, Gerald Fischbach, former Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, criticized opponents of the research for overstating the benefits of adult stem cell research relative to that with embryonic stem cells: “This claim ignores hundreds, if not thousands, of published reports and the prevailing opinion of most scientists in the field,” he stated at the hearing. Pro-life conservative Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who recently surprised many by emerging in support of research with embryonic stem cells, emphasized the waste of excess frozen embryos, which are regularly discarded by fertility clinics. This position is in stark contrast to the one Senator Hatch took back in 1992 when he led the opposition to Senator Kennedy's efforts to overturn the Bush Administration's ban on fetal tissue transplantation research. …

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