President Bush exercised the first veto of his presidency to reject a bill that would have expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The legislation that Bush vetoed July 18 was passed by the Senate on a bipartisan 63-37 vote the day before, and by the House of Representatives in 2005. It would have lifted restrictions imposed by the president in 2001 on U.S. funds for stem cell research.
While many medical groups argue that the research holds the promise of cures for a variety of illnesses, conservative Christians and the Catholic Church lambaste it because it involves the destruction of human embryos.
Speaking at a White House event that included young children from the embryo program of a Christian adoption agency, Bush said that “these boys and girls are not spare parts.” Bush said the bill “crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect, so I vetoed it.”