March 9th, 2009
04:25 PM ET
13 years ago

GOP lawmakers rip Obama over stem cell decision

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rep. Chris Smith held a Capitol Hill press conference about stem cell research Monday."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some GOP members of Congress, including the top Republicans in the House and the Senate, blasted President Obama Monday for repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax money for embryonic stem cell research, with one conservative lawmaker saying that the president is “turning the clock back.”

Watch: Smith speaks out on stem cell research

“I believe Barack Obama is turning the clock back and ten years ago, it sounded like embryonic stem cells were the future,” Republican New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith said on CNN. “They're not.”

Smith, an abortion opponent, opposes embryonic stem cell research on moral grounds. Last week, he called Obama an “abortion president.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner said Obama and Congress should instead focus on non-embryonic stem cell research, and that this decision “runs counter to President Obama’s promise to be a president for all Americans.”

“I fully support stem cell research, but I draw the line at taxpayer-funded research that requires the destruction of human embryos, and millions of Americans feel similarly,” Boehner said in a statement. “As we move forward, I am hopeful that the President will re-evaluate this and other controversial decisions that put government at odds with the sanctity of human life.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called this a “troubling shift in U.S. policy.”

“With this announcement, the government is, for the first time, incentivizing the creation and destruction of human embryos at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer,” McConnell said in a statement. “I support biomedical research and I believe the administration would be far better served by directing taxpayer funds to research on non-embryonic stem cells, which is both effective and ethical.”

Updated 4:25 p.m.

Filed under: John Boehner • Stem Cell Research
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Dylan from Minneapolis

    Llinda March 9th, 2009 4:15 pm ET

    This is a shame and blot on America. Obama calls himself a Christian but has no regard for the sanctity of life. Embryonic stem cells show no promise and even if they did wouldn't justify killing. Yes, it IS killing.


    Yeah, because thousands of scientists aren't giddy about the promise embryonic stem cell research could bring. Are you a scientist? Doubt it, I'm sure you're all for teaching creationism in school. The difference between Obama's brand of Christian and yours is that he understands the tools we've been given, while you believe in the literal translation of Dogma in the bible. The best gift God as ever given us is a mind to think with, and you apparently have never used yours.

    And no, it's not killing, what is killing is sending our troops into harms way for the benfit of an agenda. Your hipocracy is digusting and the "morals" you claim to have is a facade.

    March 9, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Ken, Tucson, AZ

    Is anyone surprised at the phony GOP outrage? The President could announce that the day following Sunday is Monday and these same idiots would feign outrage. Their opposition to everything Obama has lost all credibility.

    March 9, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Chris - Denver

    I expect that none of these Republican lawmakers will line up for the cures that are discovered as a result of this important research when they themselves are afflicted with a horrible disease.

    March 9, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. pzucco

    Yup, he is turning the clock back. From the 21st century to the dark ages. There is alot of good stuff coming out of the Adult stem cell research. I doubt they will find much more out of killing baby stem cells. But it goes along with abortion, global warming, socialistic tendencies. Global bailout. Hiring illegal immimgerents. Stuff like that. I HOPE THEY FIND THAT IT DOES NOT HELP AT ALL.

    March 9, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. fred

    No one said stem-cell research was illegal. It's the fact that what Obama did now makes EVERYONE have a portion of their tax dollars go to something that many Americans do not believe is ethical. It's unfair for that reason. It's a further waste of taxpayers money. I'm starting to wish George Bush was still in office, and I'm not even joking. I kid you not.

    March 9, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. John

    No comparison March 9th, 2009 4:45 pm ET

    Kevin in Ohio,
    You are actually trying to compare a violent criminal with a stem cell? Get a clue.

    Your right violent criminals usually harm or kill a select few where as these type people who are against real medical advancements cause suffering or death for generations.

    March 9, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. BC in NC

    Good move.

    March 9, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. California Gold

    Why this is nothing more than the separation of church and state. Deal with it.

    March 9, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Harry

    Barack Obama has no religion. Reverend Wright has nothing to say. Barack Obama became a big scientist now. He should know that Dow Index lost more ground today. He is not bothered. We have more unemployment, He is not concerned. He is concerned about stem cell research. What an idiot we have in the white house. It looks like he is still campaigning.

    March 9, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Chris, from WI

    What I think is even funnier than these politicians spewing their arguments, are the people here responding in these blogs who actually believe they know what they're talking about when it comes to science and stem cell research.

    March 9, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. Here in AZ

    Oh jeez! Just by being elected president, the clock has jumped 50 years ahead of where Bush left us!

    March 9, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Jennifer in CA

    Is it ethical to make dozens of embroys in fertility clinics and leave them in a frozen state for an indefinite limbo until they are thrown in the trash? If you were the "parent" of those embryos, would you prefer for them to be in storage for an indefinite period of years or would you prefer for them to be used to further scientific research? That embryo you don't need could become the basis for the cure for cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or any number of diseases. I'd much prefer for the research to be tax payer funded and therefore, open access to all, rather than funded by private corporations who will want to release only that information they find most favorable and patent everything they find.

    March 9, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. please

    It's kinda funny hearing republicans say Obama is turning the clock back – coming from the party that would love to turn the clock back to a time when women and minorities couldn't vote

    March 9, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. Fritz

    Sanctity of life? Funny how no one is up in arms about that when we need some other, smaller, poorer country's resources.

    March 9, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. chelle

    Funny as yet I haven't heard one GOP stalwart say that perhaps these embryos shouldn't be created in petri dishes at all. Wouldn't that be the true way to preserve the sanctity of life??? These embryos are being destroyed yet none of the right to lifers is standing outside these clinics telling women not to go in there, that they will be destroying human life??? Now where is the logic in that? Could it be that the GOP and right to lifers know that such protests would not be politically expedient???

    March 9, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. fred

    To MysteriousTraveller : "Hot news tip for the GOP…people are worried about keeping their jobs and homes not about abortion."

    Hot Tip for you......What you just said in a nutshell was "people are more worried about themselves than about unborn kids." You are right. That's the problem with America today. Everyone is self-centered.

    March 9, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Joe

    Imposing one's religious beliefs on politics and laws in a multi-religious country is akin to Talibanizing the US. The GOP rants against other religions doing this but seeks to do it here in the US. Hypocrites one and all. And, lacking a true understanding of Christianity to boot.

    March 9, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. C W

    Using embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization is not abortion. Most of these left over embryos are destroyed; some couples decide to freeze them for possible future use (not a guarantee, because the majority don't survive the thawing process) and some couples donate them to other couples who were unable to produce embryos of high enough quality to take the next step and implant them.

    People need to do a little research on just what these embryos consist of:

    – Embryos used for in-vitro are either 3 days old (8 cells) or 5 days old (differentiated into three regions, one of which has the potential of developing into a fetus).

    – Neither the 3-day-old nor 5-day-old embryo is in any way, shape or form is a fetus, let alone a baby.

    The reason why these embryos can be used for stem cell research is because, at this stage of development, they can differentiate into any of a number of different types of cells (nerve cells, skin cells, etc.).

    I believe President Obama did the right thing by repealing Bush's policy.

    March 9, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. pzucco

    NO, If i had a family member with a disease. No i would not want them to find that cure from a embreyo. The religuous will always be here. Just wait and see. no fairy tales. it is all starting to come together. thanks for hating us.

    March 9, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Denisa

    It is beyond me why the left is incapable of seeing the moral ground here. To turn it around, I am sure the left would be very upset if the right favored spending tax dollars to summarily execute all dangerous convicted criminals…. all in the name of saving future lives.

    Actually Kevin, the left would like for the prison system to be overhauled, and the drug offenders who are crowding the jails to be set free. It's comments like yours that have no place in dialogue, but since you brought it up, lets tackle some of your issues.

    1. The prison system is being ran by corporations, prisoners are working for less than .50 cent an hour, none of that money goes back into the prison system, nor is any of it given to tax payers. Those less violent offenders are not gaining any viable skill to be a productive member of society. Can you say Recidivism.

    2. The Supreme Court placed a moratorium on capital punishment that was lifted today and states are getting ready to fire up the old chairs. I don't hear the republicans commenting on this ban lift.

    3. Executing prisoners has not diminished the murder rate, we just had a sex offender in Cincinnati, rape and murder a seventh grader; if the death penalty instilled fear a seventh grader would still be alive.

    4. Republicans and other conservatives are always arguing about the right to life and ironically the right to bare arms. Never once considering the effects of the latter on society.

    I take issue with a party that says government should stay out of personal lives and allow states to set their own policies, but they are constantly trying to tell you how to believe, and choose. Hypocrites!

    March 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. Sean Chong

    It scares me when the Republicans use the same words used by the Democrats against George Bush.... "Fearmongering", "Inexperience", "liberal lunatics".... that clearly highlights something... the Republicans have no brains! And no thoughts of their own!

    March 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. No

    Republicans are becoming the party of NO the NAYSAYERS. If they keep this up they will become obsolete, unnecessary and counterproductive to the goals of this nation. The Federalists were the same and their party became extinct in the early 1800s the same will probably happen to the Republicans.

    Thats weird because during the last 8 years George W. Bush, his Cabinet & Republican Congress members said YES to leaving us with a $10 Trillion debt, said YES to 2 Failed Wars, said yes to betraying CIA agent Valerie Plame and denying body & vehicle armor to American soldiers in Iraq, they said Yes to Ignoring and Denying pre 9/11 intelligence of an impending attack and some of the hijackers were in police custody or FBI surveillance(they could have prevented 3,000 and chose not to), they said Yes to Torturing and Executing prisoners of war in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other CIA prisons all over the world.

    They said Yes to doing nothing to upgrade or fix the crumbling infrastructure and indirectly causing the fatal Minnesota bridge collapse, the Tennessee ash river, the Maryland water pipes that broke and created floods. They said Yes to outsourcing, globalization, immigrant worker programs that took jobs away from working Americans. They said Yes to firing 8 District Attorneys unfairly and unjustly under the pathetic Alberto Gonzalez. They said Yes to years of De Regulation and reckless Fiscal Policy that has left the economy in the worst shape since 1929-1933 under Failed Republican President Herbert Hoover.

    March 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Saint Genesius

    GOP Idiots –let's see. We did it your way for 8 years and what a crackerjack job you did.

    Now let the grown ups talk.

    Whip up your ever dwindling base all you want, it doesn't matter anymore and neither do you.

    In 2010 the Grand Old Party will be relegated to simply the Tired Old Party.

    March 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. C W

    The Republicans who object to this are just trying to stir up their base. They've got nothing else to offer except dishonesty, divisiveness and hate ...

    March 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Jon in CA

    Can ANYONE name just ONE cure or success achieved through Embryonic Stem Cell Research??


    Just one??

    You can't… that's because NOT ONE breakthrough has come from embroynic research. All success has come through adult stem cell research.

    But don't let FACTS get in the way of government waste!! Keep spending money we don't have Obama… It's the socialist way!!

    March 9, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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