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Pioneer Editorial: Bush's first veto quashes hope of life

It's a deep disappointment that President Bush, goaded for years to use his veto powers to stop out-of-control federal spending, would use his first veto in 5½ years to kill a measure which holds the promise of life for millions of people under the guise that he was saving life.

President Bush wasted no time on Wednesday to veto a bill which would have increased federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Nearly 600 organizations -- scientific societies, research universities, health organizations, patient advocacy groups and others -- firmly believe research involving embryonic stem cells can and will lead to solutions to a host of diseases which now have no cure -- Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, even diabetes. And public opinion polls show most Americans agree, believing the promise of giving life to the afflicted weighs more than any biased claim that the research destroys life.

It is also disheartening that joining Bush in killing this important research was Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who voted against the measure in the Senate, and Reps. Collin Peterson, DFL-7th District, and Jim Oberstar, DFL-8th District, who voted Wednesday night to sustain Bush's veto.

Not adding to the emotional debate were the parade of children with Bush from families who have adopted leftover frozen embryos and used them to bear the children. "This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush said as he vetoed the measure.

Not so. The bill provides for the use of leftover embryos that aren't donated. In other words, they would be destroyed anyway. The embryonic stem cells provided for research would be those that the couples involved have agreed to destruct. Why not use them in the hope of finding medical benefits for others?

The assumption that all embryonic stem cells will be turned into lovely, bouncing baby boys and girls sadly diverts from reality. Many of those stem cells will never leave the Petri dish, and eventually will be discarded.

Again, why not use them for research that may hold promise for greatly improving the health of people -- both living today and those who will enter this world?