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JUNE 2005
Vol. 32, No. 6


 

President Bush holds Trey Jones as mother Tracy watches at a White House East Room event with children who were adopted as embryos.

Deal by 14 Senators Retains Right to Filibuster
Some Judicial Nominees

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2005)—A last-minute deal by 14 U.S. senators stopped—at least temporarily—a vote on a Senate rules change that would have prevented Democrats from using the filibuster to block future judicial appointments by President Bush.

   The 14 senators—seven Republicans and seven Democrats—signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” late on May 23, the evening before Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tn.) would have required the Senate to vote on his proposed rules change to prohibit any further filibusters of judicial nominees.

   Frist’s proposed reform is usually referred to by its supporters as “the constitutional option,” but most often by the news media as “the nuclear option.” (For further explanation, see “Filibusters and the ‘Constitutional Option,’” page **.)

   By their signatures, the seven Democrats who signed the memorandum agreed that for the remainder of this year and during 2006, “Nominees [to federal judgeships] should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist.”

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Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tn.) and Senator John Cronyn, (R-Tx.) leaders in effort to end filibusters against judicial nominees. Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) led effort that prevented reform of Senate filibuster rule.

 

U.S. House Votes to Fund Embryo-Killing Research, 238–194; President Bush Vows Veto If Senate Also Approves

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2005)—Despite objections from NRLC and other pro-life groups, on May 24 the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill (H.R. 810) to provide federal funds for stem cell research that would require killing human embryos.

   But if this bill emerges from the U.S. Senate—where it will face stiff resistance from some key senators—President Bush has vowed he will veto it.

   The House passed the bill by a margin of 238 to 194, which was 50 votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be required to override a veto.

   The President issued his veto warning days before the House took up the bill. As the House debated the measure he spoke at the White House to families that included children who had been adopted while they were still embryos, stored in the freezers of in vitro fertilization labs.

   “The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a spare embryo,” the President told the group. “Every embryo is unique and genetically complete, like every other human being. And each of us started out our life this way. These lives are not raw material to be exploited, but gifts.”

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From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 810 ... . The bill would compel all American taxpayers to pay for research that relies on the intentional destruction of human embryos for the derivation of stem cells ...

Destroying nascent human life for research raises serious ethical problems, and many millions of Americans consider the practice immoral.

—Executive Office of the President, 5/24/2005

Stem cell experts bristled at President Bush’s characterization of embryonic stem cell research as unethical ...

.. Bush has promised to veto any measure broadening embryonic stem cell research, saying it crosses “a critical ethical line.”

Reuters wire service story, 5/25/2005

And who are the “experts” quoted by Reuters? Sean Tipton, a lobbyist for stem cell research, and Dr. Robert Lanza, a stem cell researcher in a privately owned company, who wants the taxpayer to fund such “unethical” research.

Dr. Lanza is quoted as saying, “Many people believe human life—a person—begins in a woman’s uterus, in the mother’s womb, not in a Petri dish ... ” It is unlikely that, as a scientist, Dr. Lanza actually believes this. In fact, if in vitro fertilization (using human eggs and sperm cells) did not produce a human life in a Petri dish, Dr. Lanza would have no interest in the resulting embryo.

 

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