WASHINGTON – President Bush on Friday stood opposed to efforts that "manipulate life" and urged America to work for a culture of life where the strong protect the weak and most vulnerable.
"Renewing the promise of America begins with upholding the dignity of human life," said Bush, during the National Catholic Prayer breakfast on Friday, according to the White House. The president's comments come two days after the Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would ease restrictions on federally-funded embryonic stem cell research.
"In our day, there is a temptation to manipulate life in ways that do not respect the humanity of the person," the president noted. "When that happens, the most vulnerable among us can be valued for their utility to others - instead of their own inherent worth."
Bush joins other opponents of the recently passed bill who argue that tax dollars should not be spent on destroying life, and liken the destruction of embryos to abortion. Many groups, including the Christian Medical Association, have said the imminent scientific breakthroughs promised by supporters of embryonic stem cells are highly speculative as well as unethical.
"Besides the moral wrongs of killing embryos and exploiting women, this bill would also divert precious healthcare funds away from ethical and effective research," argued Dr. David Stevens, Christian Medical Association's CEO, in a statement.
Bush and many Christians support alternatives to embryonic stem cells including adult stem cells and stem cells found in tumor cells, cord blood, amniotic fluid and placenta.
"Such non-embryonic stem cell research does not harm human embryos and is already producing real therapies for real patients in over 70 different disease and injuries," Stevens noted.
Supporters of embryonic stem cell research, however, claim stem cells culled from frozen embryos have the ability to differentiate into a wider range of specialized cells than adult stem cells as well as having the potential to form treatment for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.
Still, Bush has vowed to block the latest attempt to federally fund the controversial research, as he done last year when he vetoed a stem cell bill that he says is similar to the latest.
He would, however, sign an alternative bill that permits public funding for studies on embryos incapable of developing into fetuses, according to a statement from the White House this week. The alternative, sponsored by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), would direct taxpayer money to stem cell research on fertilized embryos that have passed the window of time in which they are capable of developing into a human being.
"We must continue to work for a culture of life," emphasized Bush on Friday, "where the strong protect the weak, and where we recognize in every human life the image of our Creator."
During the prayer breakfast, the president also said he support comprehensive immigration reform that would both observe the law and uphold human dignity.
Among the people present were Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito.