Topics in the News: Stem Cells

Rand Paul on Abortion : Apr 8, 2013
Personhood at conception, including embryonic stem cells

Paul is solidifying his outreach to the religious right by proposing a bill focused on one of his pet issues: granting legal rights and protections to fertilized eggs. Paul has introduced the so-called Life at Conception Act, which would grant "personhood" to fertilized eggs, effectively banning abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, many forms of birth control, and assisted reproductive treatments.

[FROM LIBRARY OF CONGRESS]: S.583 & H.R.1091: Life at Conception Act
Sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul along with 132 House members. Introduced 3/12/2013
Declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being. Prohibits construing this Act to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: RH Reality Check 2013 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Mike Bloomberg on Abortion : Apr 1, 2013
Government should support embryonic stem cell research

On Stem Cell Research: "Despite the potential to lead us to new cures, the federal government has restricted funding for creating new cell lines--putting the burden of any future research squarely on the shoulders of the private sector. The consequences of this decision have not only driven thousands of scientists overseas in search of more money and greater opportunity--but also put the brakes on the march of medicine. I've always wondered how these legislators would act if their health--or their children's health--was on the line and stem cell research might lead to a cure."

"Despite its potential, the federal government has restricted funding for creating new cell lines--putting the burden of any future research squarely on the shoulders of the private sector. Government's most basic responsibility, however, is the health and welfare of its people, so it has a duty to encourage appropriate scientific investigations that could possibly save the lives of millions."

Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: Quotation cited during 2013 campaign on

Jill Stein on Abortion : May 16, 2012
Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research

Q: Should the federal government fund stem cell research and legalize its development in the private sector?

A: Yes, allow the exploration of any stem cell regardless of the source.

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: Presidential comparison website

Gary Johnson on Abortion : May 16, 2012
Don't require insurers to provide birth control

Q: Should abortion be outlawed in the United States?

A: Let each state decide.

Q: Should the federal government fund stem cell research and legalize its development in the private sector?

A: No, but allow the private sector to explore potential benefits.

Q: Should the government require health insurance companies to provide free birth control?

A: No, let the insurance companies decide instead of a government mandate.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Presidential comparison website

Martin O`Malley on Abortion : Feb 3, 2012
$101M for stem cell research over six years

Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: 2012 Maryland State of the State Address

Gary Johnson on Abortion : Jan 18, 2012
No federal funding for stem cell research

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: 2012 presidential campaign website,

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Jan 17, 2012
Stem-cell cloning breaches an ethical boundary

In 2004, Romney met with a renowned Harvard stem cell researcher named Douglas Melton. Melton coolly explained how his work relied on cloning human embryos, and explained that "my work focuses on improving the lives of those suffering from debilitating diseases."

But for Romney it was a seminal day, triggering what he describes as an awakening on "life" issues after he had spent his entire political career espousing very different views. In the official account of Romney's rebirth as a social conservative, the meeting with Melton would become the Genesis story. Romney came out strongly against the cloning technique, saying that the method breached an "ethical boundary." He vowed to press for legislation to criminalize the work. Romney's opposition stunned scientists, lawmakers, and observers because of his past statements endorsing, in general terms, embryonic stem cell research. His wife Ann had publicly expressed hope that stem cells would hold a cure for her multiple sclerosis.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: The Real Romney, by Kranish & Helman, p.253-254

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Jan 17, 2012
Scientifically, life begins at conception

Romney has rejected suggestions that politics motivated his change of heart on abortion & embryonic stem cell research. "Everybody's entitled to their own view," he said. "Some people who look at the issue of the beginning of life from the lens of their faith say, 'When does the spirit enter the body?' That is not the lens that I think a secular leader should use. I look from a scientific standpoint. Romney said he arrived at his moral answer after pressing scientists on the cloning process. "When you create this clone, when you take the nucleus of a skin cell of a male and put it in an egg of the female, do you at that point have life?" Romney recalled asking. "And they said, 'No question, it is life. Once you put these together, you have life.' That's all I need to know for when the definition of when human life begins."

The extent of Romney's shift became clear in July 2005 when he vetoed a bill for the morning-after pill and to require hospitals to make it available to rape victims.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: The Real Romney, by Kranish & Helman, p.254-255

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Nov 22, 2011
2004: Stem cell research ok, if privately funded

As recently as 2004 Romney supported government funding for stem cell research. Then he took a more moderate position, one that would be more acceptable to the right. He now argued that funding for such projects should come from the private sector because of the moral questions involved. He continued to argue that this was not a change in position on stem cell research itself.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: An Inside Look, by R.B. Scott, p.144

Donald Trump on Abortion : Apr 25, 2011
Undecided on embryonic stem cell research

Trump commented on the issue of embryonic stem cell research--important because President Barack Obama overturned the pro-life protections President George W. Bush put into place that prevented taxpayers from being forced to pay for new research that included the destruction of human life for a process that has yet to help a single patient.

Trump said he's undecided on the controversial science and he wants to investigate it further before formulating an official position. He also appeared to recognize the controversial nature of embryonic stem cell research by assuring the newspaper he has not funded it in his business enterprises.

"I would say that I'd like to get back to you because I'm studying it very closely," Trump said. "It's an issue, don't forget, that as a businessman I've never been involved in."

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source:, "Trump opposes most abortions"

Carly Fiorina on Abortion : Sep 2, 2010
Embryonic stem cell research ok if not created for purpose

On Stem-cell research: Fiorina said she felt comfortable allowing federal funding to go to research using adult stem cells, as well as embryos that would have been destroyed otherwise. "It is when embryos are produced for the purposes of destruction, for the purposes of stem cell research that I have a great deal of difficulty," she said. Boxer did not address the question, which was directed to Fiorina.
Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: Los Angeles Times coverage of 2010 CA Senate Debate

Marco Rubio on Abortion : Feb 3, 2010
Require ultrasounds before performing abortions

I am pro-life. As a state legislator, I supported various pieces of pro-life legislation that, among other things, would require doctors to perform ultrasounds before performing abortions and another bill that would ban the use of taxpayer dollars to fund stem cell research.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "Issues"

Sarah Palin on Abortion : Jan 11, 2010
Stricter than McCain on abortion rules & stem-cell research

You and Sen. McCain have differences on some issues, McCain's vetting adviser continued. He is pro-life, but he's in favor of exceptions in the cases of rape & incest; you are not. Sen. McCain is in favor of stem cell research; you are not. We'll never ask you to make a statement that contradicts your beliefs, but we expect you to support the policies of the administration you'd be part of. And we may ask you to appear in ads advocating those positions. Do you have a problem with that?

No, I don't, not at all, Palin said.

They asked her nothing to plumb the depths of her knowledge about foreign or domestic policy. They didn't explore her preparedness to be VP. They assumed she knew as much as the average governor, and that what she didn't know, she would pick up on the fly. They weren't searching for problems. They were looking for a last-second solution.

What reassured them was Palin's preternatural calm and self-possession. Never once did she betray any jitters or lack of confusion.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.361-362

Jeb Bush on Abortion : Dec 11, 2009
Prevent use of public funds for stem cell research

Governor Bush took the side of the right-to-life constituency in a battle to prevent the use of public funds in support of stem cell research. While this stance put him at odds with his economic development supporters, he argued that this technology "takes a life to give a life," and opposed a ballot initiative that would have amended the state's constitution to provide $200 million over 10 years for this purpose. He also opposed actions to permit the Scripps Medical Institute to conduct research on this topic, even though he had committed $310 million of state-controlled federal funds to attract Scripps to Florida. At the same time he was attempting to lure the Burnham Institute of La Jolla, California, to build a lab in Florida, he also attached a condition that the Florida labs of this company, which was a leader in embryonic stem cell research, could work only on the noncontroversial stem cells from adults or umbilical cords.
Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. 75

Tim Kaine on Abortion : Apr 3, 2009
Restricted funding for fetal & embryonic stem cell research

Kaine signed a bill banning the use of some state funds for in-state research on human embryonic stem cells and cells or tissue derived from induced abortions. The bill was part of legislation intended to promote "science and technology-based" research and development in Virginia. Virginia's General Assembly inserted language that would prevent a state fund from financially supporting 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."
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: Catholic News Agency, "Kaine restricts funding"

Mike Huckabee on Abortion : Nov 18, 2008
Pro-stem cell research but not embryonic stem cells

One of the hot-button political issues has been whether one supports federal funding for stem cell research that involves human embryos. Unfortunately, congressional Democrats painted pro-life forces as being against stem cell research that would save lives and cure diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes. The fact is, strong pro-life activists support stem cell research and even federal funding of it as long as the stem cells are not obtained from human embryos that were created specifically for the purpose of their being destroyed in the process of research. Even then the issue was not whether the research could take place but whether federal tax dollars should pay for the very narrow and specific form of stem cell research that employs the use of human embryos.

Fortunately for all of us, medical science rendered the argument moot: stem cells derived from umbilical cords and other sources have proven to be as viable and advantageous as human embryonic stem cells.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Do The Right Thing, by Mike Huckabee, p. 41

Sarah Palin on Abortion : Aug 30, 2008
Opposes embryonic stem cell research

According to an October 2006 profile in the Anchorage Daily News, Palin opposes stem cell research, physician-assisted suicide, and state health benefits for same-sex partners.
Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Boston Globe, “A valentine to evangelical base”, p. A12

Barack Obama on Abortion : Aug 1, 2008
1997: opposed bill preventing partial-birth abortion

In 1997, Obama voted in the Illinois Senate against SB 230, a bill designed to prevent partial-birth abortions. In the US Senate, Obama has consistently voted to expand embryonic stem cell research. He has voted against requiring minors who get out-of-state abortions to notify their parents. The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) gives Obama a 100% score on his pro-choice voting record in the Senate for 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama Nation, by Jerome Corsi, p.238-239

Hillary Clinton on Principles & Values : Feb 11, 2008
FactCheck: Ranked 16th most liberal in Senate

Obama was asked about a recent ranking of senators by the National Journal that rated him the most liberal in 2007. He responded by citing one vote on “an office of public integrity that stood outside of the Senate.”

Obama’s answer could mislead voters Obama cited just one of 99 Senate votes selected by National Journal’s reporters and editors for the study. Most of the votes chosen had to do with the minimum wage, renewable energy, immigration, embryonic stem cell research, and other issues that divide liberals and conservatives.

Clinton ranked 16th most liberal in the Senate, although she actually differed from Obama on just 2 of the 99 selected votes--the creation of an outside ethics office, and allowing certain immigrants to stay in the country while their visas were being renewed. A comparison of Obama & Clinton over the last three years (since Obama has been in the Senate) shows that Obama had an average composite “liberal” score of 88, which is higher than Clinton’s average of 77.6.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: on 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview

Mike Huckabee on Government Reform : Feb 10, 2008
Fundamental difference with McCain on campaign finance

Q: What is the biggest issue that separates you from John McCain?

A: I think the key issues are: that I support the human life amendment; that I don’t support human embryonic stem cell research; that I didn’t agree with the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act; and immigration. We have differences of opinion on how we ought to handle that. Those are the fundamental differences. And I think there are other, maybe, nuances. But you know, one of the things that I find interesting, the two most civil campaigns of the Republican primary are the ones still on their feet. And I do think that that says something about both the senator’s campaign and ours. It looks like Republicans really are responding to a more message-driven and positive campaign. I think that’s good for our party. I’d like to say I think it’s good for America.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Dec 16, 2007
Outlaw embryo farming, but allow using surplus embryos

Q: You previously stated: “[the] United States House of Representatives voted for a bill that was identical to what I proposed. They voted to provide surplus embryos from in vitro fertilization processes being used for research and experimentation. That’s what I said I support.” Do you still support that?

A: I have the same position. From a legal standpoint, I would outlaw cloning to create new stem cells and I would outlaw embryo farming. I would allow, on a private basis, the use of surplus embryos from in vitro fertilization. In terms of funding, I think the best source of our funding application should be in what are known as alternative methods. And this just recent. I’ve been fighting for this for some time. But this recently saw a major breakthrough with direct reprogramming of human adult cells to become stem cells that can be very potent cells applied to help cure disease and serious conditions.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series

Hillary Clinton on Principles & Values : Dec 13, 2007
Focus on foreign policy and revising executive orders

I will send bipartisan emissaries around the world with a simple message that the era of cowboy diplomacy is over. We’re going to start working together to try and find common ground wherever possible. I will review executive orders, rescind those that undermine the Constitution & betray the rule of law, & issues like not interfering with science. I’ll ask Congress to send me everything that Bush vetoed like stem cell research and begin to prepare my legislative and budget proposals for the Congress.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Dec 11, 2007
2004: Became pro-life during stem cell controversy

Like most other top GOP contenders, Romney supports the vigorous prosecution of the war on terror, including the establishment of a democracy in Iraq. And perhaps most important, from a conservative perspective, Romney calls himself staunchly pro-life.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Meet the Next President, by Bill Sammon, p. 2

Barack Obama on Abortion : Aug 26, 2007
Stem cells hold promise to cure 70 major diseases

Barack Obama believes we owe it to the American public to explore the potential of stem cells to treat the millions of people suffering from debilitating and life threatening diseases. Stem cells hold the promise of treatments and cures for more than 70 major diseases and conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries, and diabetes. As many as 100 million Americans may benefit from embryonic stem cell research. As president, Obama would: Obama introduced legislation in the Illinois Senate to ensure that only those embryos that would otherwise be discarded could be used and that donors would have to provide written consent for the use of the embryos.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, “Flyers”

Hillary Clinton on Abortion : Jun 20, 2007
Lift ban on stem cell research to cure devastating diseases

Later today, the president will veto a bill passed by Congress to support stem cell research. I co-chair the Alzheimer’s Caucus in the Senate. I’ve worked on helping to boost funding for research to look for cures and a way to prevent so many devastating diseases. And we know that stem cell research holds the key to our understanding more about what we can do. When I am president, I will lift the ban on stem cell research. This is just one example of how the president puts ideology before science.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference

Mitt Romney on Abortion : May 3, 2007
Altered nuclear transfer instead of embryonic stem cells

Q: Would you expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research?

A: It certainly will. Altered nuclear transfer, I think, is perhaps the best source.

Q: Embryonic.

A: Altered nuclear transfer creates embryo-like cells that can be used for stem cell research. In my view, that’s the most promising source. I have a deep concern about curing disease. I have a wife that has a serious disease that could be affected by stem cell research and others. But I will not create new embryos through cloning or through embryo farming, because that will be creating life for the purpose of destroying it.

Q: And you won’t take any from these fertility clinics to use either?

A: It’s fine for that to be allowed, to be legal. I won’t use our government funds for that. Instead, I want our governments to be used on altered nuclear transfer.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC

Mike Huckabee on Abortion : May 3, 2007
Embryonic stem cell research creates life to end a life

Q: For embryonic stem cell federal funding or not?

GILMORE: We can’t create people in order to experiment with people.

HUCKABEE: I would concur. I don’t think it’s right to create a life to end a life. That’s not a good health decision.

HUNTER: No. I’d like to show Mrs. Reagan the alternatives, which are adult stem cells.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Mar 12, 2007
Stem cell research lofty goals don’t justify destroying life

Romney adopted the “pro-life” label after his battle over stem cell research. Ann Romney has multiple sclerosis. Romney, who not surprisingly cites the diagnosis of his wife’s disease as one of the greatest blows of his life, is nevertheless alarmed by the aggressive program of embryonic stem cell research consortiums. He has taken a stand against the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute was seeking legal protection for an embryo production line for the purpose of creating and harvesting stem cells, and Romney refused his support. He said, “Lofty goals do not justify the creation of life for experimentation or destruction.”

Romney’s views would permit for research the use of embryos about to be destroyed by their parents; this puts him at odds with President Bush’s more restrictive position. Romney has never supported state-funded research on embryonic stem cells, and is a believer in the efficacy of alternative methods of producing stem cells.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: A Mormon in the White House?, by Hugh Hewitt, p.111-114

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Dec 22, 2006
Now firmly pro-life, despite 2002 tolerance for abortion

In New Hampshire on Thursday, he deflected conservative concerns about his record on gay marriage and abortion. He said he now describes himself as “firmly pro-life,” despite citing his tolerance for abortion rights during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, after researching the embryonic stem cell issue.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: coverage: “Inside Politics”

Marco Rubio on Abortion : Apr 6, 2006
Voted against funding stem cell research

Rubio voted NO on Amendment A990241, Stem Cell Research Funding Amendment (rejected by the House, 40 - 73).

State government synopsis: This amendment earmarks $1,000,000 from the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program to fund research grants on adult, umbilical cord and embryonic stem cell projects.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Florida state legislative voting records

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Jul 27, 2005
Vetoed emergency contraception for rape victims

Massachusetts’ Legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic, and Romney’s first term as governor barely touched on the issues dear to social conservatives until recently.

In May, Romney vetoed legislation to expand stem cell research because it allowed the cloning of human embryos for use in stem cell experiments--a practice Romney said amounts to creating life in order to destroy it. The Legislature overrode the veto.

His veto of the emergency contraception measure is also likely to be overridden. That bill requires hospital emergency room doctors to offer the medication to rape victims, and would make it available without prescription from pharmacies.

Romney is on a list of possible contenders for the White House in 2008. Others include Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Sam Brownback of Kansas and George Allen of Virginia, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Associated Press on

Mitt Romney on Abortion : May 31, 2005
Vetoed stem cell research bill

This House vote affirmed passage of the bill supporting stem cell research as originally passed by the House and Senate, rejecting Governor Romney’s proposed amendments and veto, and avoiding delays of implementation.
Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Voting Record Bill S. 2039, passed 112-42

Barack Obama on Abortion : Jun 16, 2004
Pass the Stem Cell Research Bill

State Senator Barack Obama today called for passage of the Ronald Reagan Biomedical Research Act (HB 3589), which will permit embryonic stem cell research in Illinois. The bill, formerly known as the Stem Cell Research Act, was recently renamed to honor the memory of former President Ronald Reagan.

The Ronald Reagan Biomedical Research Act specifically permits embryonic stem cell research in Illinois. Today, more than 100 million Americans are afflicted by medical problems [which could be affected by this research]. Obama says, “This bill affects diseases that attack Americans - regardless of their gender, age, economic status, ethnicity, race or political affiliation. This is about a commitment to medical research, under strict federal guidelines. I call on leaders in Illinois and President Bush in Washington to stop playing politics on this critical issue and expand the current policy on embryonic stem cell research so that we can begin finding the cures of tomorrow today.”

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Press Release, “Stem Cell Research Bill”

Rick Santorum on Abortion : Aug 3, 2001
Responsible stem cell research doesn't destroy embryos

I support the Responsible Stem Cell Research Act of 2001, legislation aimed at committing our Nation to a bold investment in promising, ethical medical research with which we all can live. I fervently believe that fertilization produces a new member of the human species. To use a human being, even a newly conceived one, as a commodity is never morally acceptable. Unfortunately, the opportunities for developing successful therapies from stem cells that do not require the destruction of human embryos have been given relative short shrift. But adult and other post-natal stem cells have been successfully extracted from umbilical cord blood placentas and other organs. In order to build upon the successes of this promising research, the Responsible Stem Cell Research Act would authorize $275 million for this ethical stem cell research which is actually proven to help hundreds of thousands of patient. This represents a 50% increase in current NIH funding being devoted to this stem cell research.
Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Santorum speech in "A Senator Speaks Out", p.141-142

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