WASHINGTON (CNN) – CNN has learned that President Obama is planning to sign at least one executive order on Monday that will overturn Bush-era policy that limited the types of embryonic stem cell research that can receive federal tax dollars, according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations.
Obama's move will be hailed by advocates for those suffering from a host of diseases ranging from diabetes to Parkinson's disease, who believe that an expansion of stem cell research could leads to all kinds of medical progress and help eradicate various 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 an executive order signed by former President George W. 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 the time he signed that order.
(Updated after the jump with reaction from conservatives and GOP congressional leaders)
Bush also twice vetoed legislation - in July 2006 and June 2007 - that would have expanded federally funded embryonic stem cell research. 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.
UPDATE: Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council accused the White House of leaking the details out on Friday night so that it gets little attention, declaring the move “a slap in the face to Americans who believe in the dignity of all human life.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner also blasted the news. “Advancements in science and research have moved faster than the debates among politicians in Washington, D.C., and breakthroughs announced in recent years confirm the full potential of stem cell research can be realized without the destruction of living human embryos,” said the Ohio Republican.