March 31st, 2009
04:23 PM ET
4 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. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Kaine: Kindly keep your silly religion out of my politics. People like you seriously need removed from political power. Fool!

    March 31, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Michigan Jim

    Now that's a refreshing surprise! A Catholic Democrat who actually practices the teachings of the Church. Beware, Governor Kaine - the loony leftists of your own party are about to descend upon you. 3.... 2.....1.....

    March 31, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Mississippi Mike

    It's bad enough that we abort babies, it's a tragedy when we use them for medical research. Embryonic stem cell research has yielded NO cures for anything and as a junk science should not recieve government funding. In reality, the push for embryonic stem cell research is a cover for pro-abortion groups to maintain their power and expand it as much as possible.

    March 31, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. mk

    If I want the Pope's opinion on life, I will get that from church on Sunday. The Pope is also wrong about condoms and Holocaust deniers, BTW.

    But I do not vote for political leaders setting and upholding laws of our land of many different religions based on their faith and religious beliefs.

    If a politician cannot separate his or her politics from their religion, then they should not be in politics. Find another line of work.

    March 31, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Mike

    At last, a true democrat who stands on his beliefs in spite of pressure from liberals and obamby.

    March 31, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. t wilson

    GOOD WORK DEMOCRATS!! Fight Obama at every turn.

    The democrats only support REPUBLICAN presidents who lead us into mulitple wars, record deficits, and deep recessions. They will roll over and do anything for a republican president without so much as a peep.

    The DEMOCRATIC congress is full of FOOLS!!

    March 31, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Doug, New Jersey

    I'm pro choice since it's a womans body and she can deal with god later, for now abortion means less Democrats in the future and that's better for America, that's a fact. I just want to know how anyone sides with a party that freaks out and protests against the free speech of others just saying "choose life". You learn a lot about what type of people libs are with this one.

    March 31, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Fred Evil

    No future for Kaine. I voted for him, and now I'm kicking myself. DINO

    March 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. David Knapp

    "research that could save lives" but at what cost?

    March 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. K.W.

    I applaud Kaine for supporting his beliefs and dare I say leaving team play behind. I encourage everyone to read this bill and its entirety before shooting the man down. The bill allows funding for non-embryonic types of research. This is in no way will prohibit the advancement of stem cell research. I believe this is the kind of change, some of us were hoping for. Well done.

    March 31, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Jim Hall

    Another village idiot. Democratic party get rid of this nut Jim Hall Kanas City Missouri.

    March 31, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. jeff

    2 faced.
    Should resign

    March 31, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Pee Wee

    Bravo! for Governor Kaine. A man standing on his own principles.

    Of course we can now sit back and watch the Liberal Diversity Mob rail against him because he has a different view then they'll call him ignorant because he is abiding by his faith.

    He has a divergent view, and the ones preaching that we should celebrate and respect diversity will be the ones going against the tenets of their religion.

    March 31, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Obama Victim

    nice going Gov Kaine

    March 31, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. bill for barack

    I hope for his sake that no one in his family ever needs
    the kind of medical treatment that could result from successful stem cell research.
    Maybe we need to ask patients if they oppose stem cell research before offering them any treatment that might have arisen from such research.

    March 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. ChumpBo

    Funny. No comments yet eh? Cat got the tongue you dim witted dems? Now what? Do the right thing and boot this gov out. We don't need no politicians who are opposed to common sense! Stem cell research is a no-brainer.

    March 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Thereby proving that not all superstitious bible-thumpers are Republicans–I hadn't known that.

    March 31, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Veteran in Kansas

    The world is flat, man kind is 4,000 years old, and science be only permitted if it follows the dogma of the church.

    March 31, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Mel

    Time someone slapped this man upside the head with a reminder that separation of church and state is guaranteed by the Constitution. Tired of this argument. Its time for Congress to make laws to stop this type of thing from happening.

    March 31, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. ran

    He needs to resign as head of the DNC now. He is not against tax money going to kill people in a war I guess because the Navy has lots of bases in VA. Religion does not belong in any of our politics. I can only hope for the great people of VA that the next Gov. will undo this like president Obama has with Bush. No matter how hard they try you will never legislate morality. Also, where was he when all the pedophile priest were out and about. Give me a break.

    March 31, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. Freed_From_W

    "Pro-Life"ers are logically incorrect.

    There are more miscarriages than human-caused abortions in the US in an average year.

    So, basically since your God is all knowing, the he chooses when we all die, that means God is more cruel than any abortion clinic. Also, if stem cells are human life, they haven't been born yet and therefore have not committed any conscience sins.. so does that mean these cells go to heaven? No. And if that is so, then the same would be for about every child up to the age of 2.5-3, since humans don't have a concept of right and wrong until they are about 3 or so, and even then, they aren't capable of understanding the indirect consequences of their actions, unlike the rest of us.

    Funding for this would provide more stem cells for research purposes, in order to cure diseases. A clump of organic matter is not human life. This would help existing human life, and is just otherwise going to be thrown out anyhow. You want to prevent diseases from having a better chance at being cured? You want to prevent people from prospering and living healthy happy lives?

    Blocking it is an illogical and immoral act.

    March 31, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Julia O

    Kaine should resign as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee if he has such a problem with its platform.

    March 31, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Owl

    Tim Kaine has he right to promote any policy position he wants as Governor of Virginia; however, if he cannot support the platform of the Democratic Party, he should resign as Chairman of the DNC. Bring back Howard Dean!

    March 31, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. b r o o k e

    He has a right to do that, to vote to the conscience of his constituency. Maybe VA voters should vote a different Democrat or a pro-life, anti-stem cell Republican, if that's the way they feel as a state.
    Are the DNC and RNC leads allowed to break from party line? I would think so, but then the power of politics to influence free thinking and speech have never been a deterrent to career politicians.how much you want to bet he switches parties?

    March 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. PJP

    Good for you Kaine!!!!!!!! Someone needs to block it!!!

    March 31, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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