The president likens the use of stem cells for research purposes to killing, yet as the editorial notes:
We understand that people can in good faith disagree on this question. But we don't understand the logic of Mr. Bush's position. If using discarded embryos to extract stem cells is murder, how can he permit it to proceed with private funding? If this is murder, isn't it also immoral to allow federal research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells, as the current administration policy permits, though they are the fruit of a homicidal act?
Nineteen Republicans joined 43 Democrats and one Independent to provide the 633-37 vote by which the measure passed Tuesday. One of the Republicans who crossed the president was Orrin Hatch of Utah, who said:
"I believe that being pro-life involves helping the living. Experts believe that upward of 100 million Americans — and hundreds of millions of others around the world — may one day benefit from stem-cell research" into such diseases as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.
As for Missouri's senators, both Kit Bond and Jim Talent voted with the minority on the issue, which promises to loom large in Talent's re-election battle against State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who supports stem cell research. An examination of its effect on the Missouri race is included in this article from The Hill.
Whether this upcoming veto is a genuine expression of moral conviction or a kissup to extremely conservative elements in his party, it is still a misuse of the veto power. For the president to save his first veto for this issue, which is so broadly supported by a majority of Americans, while he has missed one opportunity after another to veto horrendous spending bills that have given us huge deficits seems completely irresponsible.