Heart Health Articles

Sen. Frist Says Support Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Opposition To Abortion Rights Not Inconsistent

April 18, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a potential 2008 presidential candidate, in an interview on Thursday said there is not an "inconsistency" between his abortion-rights opposition and his support of a bill (HR 810) that would have expanded human embryonic stem cell research funding, the Des Moines Register reports (Beaumont, Des Moines Register, 7/28). The bill, called the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 -- which President Bush vetoed last week -- would have allowed funding for research using stem cells derived from embryos originally created for fertility treatments and willingly donated by patients. Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is only allowed for research using embryonic stem cell lines created on or before Aug. 9, 2001, under a policy announced by Bush on that date (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/27). Frist in a July 13 San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece wrote, "Although I am antiabortion and believe the human embryo has moral significance from the moment of conception, I will back this embryonic stem cell research package on the Senate floor," in part because "it has now become clear that [Bush's] policy will eventually hold back scientific progress" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/13). Frist on Thursday said that until the embryonic stem cell debate, "people said you're really for science or you're for preservation of life," but that is "not right" (Des Moines Register, 7/28). "You can be pro-life and support stem cell research," Frist said, adding, "The consistency is having a pro-life (stand) and an ethical framework" for the research (Tibbetts, Quad-City Times, 7/28). He also said that Republican abortion-rights opponents could support him despite his views on embryonic stem cell research, adding that the Republican Party "has both the diversity of views -- still, a pro-life position -- and the support of science" (Des Moines Register, 7/28). The embryonic stem cell research debate "shows the breadth of the party," according to Frist (Quad-City Times, 7/28).

Newspapers Examine Stem Cell Funding, Election Implications
In related news, the Christian Science Monitor on Friday examined the election implications of Bush's veto and the embryonic stem cell issue (Feldmann, Christian Science Monitor, 7/28). The Wall Street Journal on Friday examined the current status of private and state funding for the research (Hughes, Wall Street Journal, 7/28).

"Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.