March 31st, 2009
04:23 PM ET
3 years ago

Kaine blocks funding for embryonic stem cell research

Virginia governor Tim Kaine was Obama's choice to lead the DNC.
Virginia governor Tim Kaine was Obama's choice to lead the DNC.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has signed a bill into law banning the use of some state funds for embryonic stem cell research.

The move puts the DNC chairman at odds with President Obama, who signed an executive order earlier this month reversing the Bush administration's ban on federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells.

Kaine approved the Virginia bill on Monday, according to the governor's office, the same day he enacted legislation that would permit "Choose Life" license plates in the commonwealth - an act that angered state and national abortion rights advocates.

The governor signed another piece of legislation Monday aimed at promoting "science and technology-based" research and development in Virginia. It contains language inserted by the General Assembly that would prevent a state fund from providing dollars to organizations or businesses that undertake "research in Virginia on human cells or tissue derived from induced abortions or from stem cells obtained from human embryos."

Kaine's support for the legislation is not surprising: He is a staunch Catholic who has long opposed using taxpayer money for embryonic stem cell research. But the platform of the Democratic Party, now headed by Kaine at Obama's behest, describes embryonic stem cell research as "research that could save lives."

Both the stem cell bill and the license plate uproar highlight the balancing act Kaine faces in his dual roles of the moment: one as policy-minded governor of a moderate state, and another as a the national face for a partisan organization seeking to promote President Obama agenda. Kaine will assume the DNC position full time when his term expires in January.

Asked for comment about Kaine's departure from the national party line, the DNC referred questions to the governor's office in Richmond.

Lynda Tran, the governor's communications director, said that Kaine's decision is "in keeping with his faith and his personal beliefs."

"The governor is opposed to the use of state funds to fund embryonic stem cell research, but he generally agrees with the national platform broadly, that there are scientific values to stem cell research," Tran said. "In Virginia, where there has been strong opposition to embryonic research, he has chosen to focus on other forms of research like adult and placental stem cell research."

The bill signed Monday allows funding for non-embryonic types of research.

All three of the Democrats vying to replace Kaine as governor this fall - Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds - support using state money for embryonic research.

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Republican candidate for governor, Bob McDonnell, said he opposes state funding for embryonic research but supports other forms of stem cell research. Martin said McDonnell has "a personal and direct interest" in the matter because his father suffers from Alzheimer's.

"Adult stem cell research avoids the ethical questions associated with taxpayer funded embryonic stem cell research," said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. "Bob McDonnell believes we should focus tax dollars on research methods where there is common ground.

Article updated at 9:30 a.m. EST


Filed under: DNC • President Obama • Tim Kaine
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. JADIE

    To Amy ~ 3/31/09 @5:22 p.m.
    You got that right!

    March 31, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Beth

    You people just make me want to bang my head against a wall until I am knocked out. Did y'all even read the article? He is blocking funding for EMBRYONIC stem cell research, because there is more promise in ADULT or PLACENTAL stem cell research.
    Man, you Democrats will eat your own young if they disagree with you.

    March 31, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Edward G. Stafford

    Well done Governor Kaine. Embryonic stem cell is an unproven, tentative, unlikely-to-succeed, and moraly questionable practice. It is much wiser and scientifcally sensible to put money into research on non-embryonic pluripotent stem cells, placental stem cells, and so-called adult stem cells, the last of which have yielded real medical benefits, than on speculative research that attacks human life.

    March 31, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Pollie

    Kaine is one Democrat that NEEDS TO GO!

    March 31, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Pollie

    He supports research, but doesn't want the taxpayers to pay for it? Just where and how does Gov. Kaine expect the funds to come from......GOD? Gov. Kaine is a DUMB IDIOT!

    March 31, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Pete

    Edward Stafford,

    If you feel that embryos are "human life", then should fertility clinics that routinely throw away thousands of them a year be shut down and their proprieters put in prison for murder?

    March 31, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Trent/Steamboat

    Tim Kaine now thinks he's entitled to play God.

    March 31, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. res45

    It's good to see somebody stand up for what they believe in regardless of what party there affiliated with. Agree or disagree I have respect for a person like that. At least he follows his own consonance instead of the party line,we need more people like that in government instead of the lap dogs we have now,instead of those that suck up to the vote and money train just to stay elected. Sometime you just have to take a stand no matter the cost. Sadly very few ever do.

    March 31, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Blue Dog Democrat, Chicago, IL

    I find it funny that the same people who are whining about how the loony left with attack Gov Kaine are the same right-wingnut idiots who attacked the 3 Republican Senators who went against their party and voted their conscience for the stimulus bill. They are the same idiots who will attack any Republican who are pro-choice or don’t listen to talk radio or fox news, and then have the nerve to get self-righteous with the Dems.

    March 31, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    The democrats will throw him under the bus for opposing this and abortion. Iam a pro choice republican but I know that pro choice republicans have a place in the party unlike pro life democrats. The democrats are as nasty and agressive as their union bosses are.

    March 31, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. No Incumbents 2010

    It's called State Rights. You can read more about it in "The Constitution"

    March 31, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. S Callahan

    Kaine is a Christian ..and he is holding to his convictions..I respect that.

    March 31, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Byron

    Tim Kaine should have persued a career in the Priesthood instead of Governor. What was he thinking?!?

    March 31, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Kyle

    Bummer. And to think we had one of them walking amongst us. Kaine needs to turn tail and join the Republican ranks.

    March 31, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. AnIndependent

    Since when does Kaine's religious belief become the law of his state? Last time I checked, this country was not based on the Christian faith. Religion and govt were to be separated. What do you want done with embryos that are not going to be implanted? Let's get Nadya Suleman and implant them in her. But using them for research to save lives is not allowed. You make me nauseous! Those of you who purport to know what the science of this issue is, you are ignorant.

    March 31, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. No Incumbents 2010

    The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. Margaret Thatcher.

    Perhaps you Liberals need to re-think your abortion position. You will need someone to pay for all of these social programs in the future.

    March 31, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. Brian

    Wow, this might just do it. If we have a pro-life DNC chairman and a pro-abortion RNC chairman I just might be persuaded to switch to the Democratic party.

    March 31, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. Twitterthat

    We need medical advancements. It's been a long time since we've had significant cures. With idiots like Gov. Kaine, cures for a number of diseases will come to a stand still.

    March 31, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. jane

    Apparently Gov. Kaine and no one in his immediate family has one of the scores of diseases that can be helped with stem cell research.

    March 31, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Tyler

    I hope Tim Kaine will be in need of a cure someday soon and all he receives is a good dose of karma. Bummer man!

    March 31, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. pam Eugene OR

    As an elected official he should be representing the people who put him in power and not his very personal relationship as a Catholic. I am very disappointed in Kaine.

    March 31, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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