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. Scientist

    First, for those that continue to put scientific research as an excuse/rationale for embryonic stem cell research should consider these appalling recent scientific experiments (that did gain results).

    Research on syphilis that would save lives and suffering in Tuskegee.

    During WWII, Nazi doctors and scientists performed experiments on individuals deemed “lives unworthy of life” (Lebensunwertes Leben), among them: Jews, Gypsies, physically or mentally ill patients, political dissidents and prisoners, and homosexuals. The experiments consisted of studies on twin genetics, freezing and hypothermia, infectious agents, high altitude, sterilization, experimental surgery, and traumatic injury.

    Ethics should matter. All life (or any other euphemism or semantic you would call it) should be given the benefit of the doubt. We should be very careful on this slippery slope.

    March 31, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Moderate Democrat

    @Shooky

    Uhhmmm...which POLITICAL leader has thrown Kaine under the bus. You are talking about posters on a blog, BIG DEAL. Talk to me when Obama throws him under the bus, or when Pelosi throws him under the bus (don't like Pelosi either...so we agree on something) throws him under the bus.

    Until then, be a good blogger, and wait for it to happen before talking about it.

    March 31, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Moderate Democrat

    one more thing: John McCain voted 95% with Bush...I'd say he towed the party lane quite EXTENSIVELY. He was not an exception. A better example from the republican might be the governor of Florida ;)

    March 31, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. ib

    Finally Kaine does something right before he leaves office. He does care about right and wrong at least in this case.

    March 31, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Bob F.

    He won't be head of the DNC long. Bye, bye....You dance to the tune of the President or you're history.

    March 31, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Washington Insider

    Wow, when I am right I am right. All I see is tons of "you should resign," "you are an idiot" "shut up and go away"

    It seems that fellow Democrats don't like people who don't agree with their point of view. You guys all realize this is what killed the Democratic party 8 years ago when Clinton and Gore had their falling out. Why don't you all just grow up, and stop being children.

    I wish we could get some real rational people on the comments, not just a bunch of Pro-Obama-if-You-disagree-how-dare-you maniacs on here. *sigh*

    March 31, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Anne

    When you need a medical cure...remember Kaine was the idiot who blocked any research. Moron.

    March 31, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Edward

    Who needs a cure? Just pray for one with Gov. Kaine.!! IDIOT!

    March 31, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Lisa

    I hope and pray when Gov. Kaine and his relatives are need of medical cures, they receive Karma.

    March 31, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Accountability

    Keane was elected to represent all the voters of his state, not his own religious and moral commitments.

    March 31, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. phoenix86

    Moderate Democrat March 31st, 2009 4:23 pm ET

    Republicans and GOP, quick question:

    If we started calling abortion "A double edged sword of "Pro-active Capital Punishment" and an "Anti-Terrorism Policy" that exterminates the 'suspects' at the source." And then threw in a retarded slogan, something like "War is Hell!". Would you be for it then?
    ----------------

    If you volunteer yourself as a candidate for a very late term abortion, then yes.

    March 31, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Robb

    I truly believe that Gov. Kaine is a Republican in sheeps clothing. He's been known to party with Rushy!

    March 31, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. kevincollins

    And we all know that if this research resulted in a cure for a serious illness that Kaine would wind up suffering, he'd be the first one in line to get the scientific-breakthrough cure.

    March 31, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Brier

    Governor Kaine is a true idiot. This is one Democrat that needs to be black-balled.

    March 31, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. slp

    No, christianity is not about tolerance. You either believe that the bible is the undisputed word of God and do your best to live by it or you aren't a christian. You just don't rewrite the bible to make it fit your lifestyle. By the way, christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus loves all people. This does not mean he is tolerant of sinful behavior. Also, most republicans believe that all life is sacred. This means all life and that it starts at conception. Republicans aren't against stem cell research. They just don't believe in EMBRYONIC stem cell research. There are other ways of getting stem cells that don't include creating life to destroy it. Most republicans also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. God does too. Why do you think he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Go read Genesis18 and 19 and see how God feels about homosexuality. God is also prolife. He created it.

    March 31, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Evan

    "Evan, uh, perhaps you should read the article. The governor's communications director said that Kaine's decision is "in keeping with his faith and his personal beliefs.""

    To be sure, I made my comment in frustration with Kaine's office as much as anyone else. That said, one cans still offer reasoned opinions that are also in keeping with faith and beliefs... doesn't mean they are thus not reasonable. Presumably Obama's commitment to embryonic research is also in keeping with his faith and personal beliefs, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a reasonable basis as well.

    March 31, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. Matthew, Detroit

    Good Man Kaine.

    March 31, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Ellie

    I'm a Catholic, however, medical science must progress. Gov. Kaine really needs to get with the times or else become a priest. If he practices what he preaches then he must not believe in birth control either. Will Gov. Kaine vote against that also? Moron.

    March 31, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Mark in VA

    I voted for Kaine and have to say I'm disappointed in his stance. I've always believed that policy decisions should be made on the basis of sound, fact-based, reasonable judgment by any individual representing his/her constituents. There is no basis in fact that banning funding for embryonic stem cell research will preserve life by saving embroyos. Quite the contrary – they will be discarded by the fertility clinics that produce them. Where is the logic in that?

    And for those posters who think embryonic stem cell research is junk science and unjustified, there was a story just this week that researchers have already produced promising results in creating blood – 100% disease-free blood – from embryonic stem cells. Junk science? I don't think so.

    March 31, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Matthew, Detroit

    You people are a bunch of sheep.
    Stemcell research is still unproven and not a miracle cure.
    They are not going to grow a new nerve canal for people that can not walk.
    Growing body parts and clones to use as body parts is the next step.
    The research is already beyond host stem cells, but you people only buy into your party lines and fail to understand that.
    He was elected by the people of Virginia and he is a man of integrity and conscience. Unlike barack who goes where the polls take him. Barack is just a little cheerleader.

    March 31, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Kylee

    Kaine is President Obama's first mistake....Kick Gov. Kaine off his perch!

    March 31, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Rob

    Better watch it Governor, you're crossing the Great Obama. Don't you know that by being a Democrat you have to be for the murder of innocent babies? That's how it works, you fight for the rights of terrorists and murders, but completely ignore the rights of the unborn. You shouldn't let your faith get to you, after all, the unborn can't vote, so they don't count as real voters anyhow.

    You really should read some of these posters here. Never mind the fact that NOTHING POSITIVE has yet to be attained from experiments on embryonic cells, that doesn't matter. You need to put your petty little things like your faith and any feelings you have for the unborn aside. Don't you know it's a right to defend (and eventually support) terrorists and murders and ignore and kill unborn babies? Well, a Democrat right at least.

    And all these people bashing him for his faith, some day you're gonna have to answer to God. Better get ready for an extended stay in a 'warmer' climate.

    March 31, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Bethie

    Gov. Kaine now thinks he's entitled to play GOD.

    March 31, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. ATS

    I too am a pro life Democrat, and like Tim Kaine I respect the human rights of ALL, not just those who can raise hell or donate money. The reality is that embryonic stem cells are not needed anymore. I know many who read this will doubt me, but do some research. The latest research has found that our own skin cells will be able to be treated to make the cells behave like stem cells, and obviously the fact that they come from the individual needing the cells is ideal because of the perfect genetic match. I was disappointed when Barack did not pick Tim for VP, but I still think Barack is doing a great job. I just wish that when we think about the rights of gays, women, children, animals, etc., we would also consider the rights of those without a voice.

    March 31, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Amy

    President Obama needs to realize that there are more qualified people who would be more effective than Gov. Kaine. I truly hope that Gov. Kaine pursues other avenues to promote his personal views.

    March 31, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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