As most of your know President Bush used his first ever veto of the embryonic stem cell research bill.
Today in my in-box I received an email from Governor Howard Dean, M.D. Head of the Democratic National committee.
I'm appalled at the approach he took to the action by the President. You can read it for yourself:
Today George Bush chose political posturing over human life, denying hope to millions of Americans, their families and loved ones who are affected by debilitating diseases.
He used his first-ever veto to stop the discovery of new cures for diseases like juvenile diabetes, leukemia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and many others. More than 70% of Americans from every walk of life -- whether in the faith community, the science lab, the hospital or at the bedside of a sick relative -- and majorities in both chambers of Congress disagree, but that didn't stop him.
The bill he vetoed wasn't a sweeping change -- it was a small, practical measure that would have made a big difference for medical research based on sound science. But the consequences are sweeping: the proposed law would have allowed research on excess embryos generated during processes like fertility treatments -- embryos that would otherwise simply be discarded.
If George Bush truly believed his rhetoric about stem cells, he would do something about the processes that create the excess embryos in the first place. But he won't. They will continue to go unused (his spokesman limply calls it a "tragedy"), and cures will continue to be beyond our reach.
Bush may not be willing to choose cure discovery over his right-wing base, but the vast majority of Americans support cure research.
Even after his veto, Democrats in Congress will continue to keep the pressure on to get more votes. If Republicans refuse to join the cause and override Bush's veto, it will have to be decided at the ballot box in November. Democrats will continue to fight to keep this hope for the discovery of new cures alive.
The Congress and the rest of the country are paying attention right now, and we have to seize this moment to build the coalition of support for cure discovery.
As a medical doctor, I'm offended at the political meddling in potentially life-saving research. All of our families could be touched by hope found through stem cell research: from juvenile diabetes to Alzheimer's, it offers the opportunity for new cures. Yet this important research has been dwindling because of restrictions put in place by Bush five years ago.
That's half a decade we have lost. How much longer will those suffering and their families have to wait?
People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but Bush's extraordinary action doesn't meet that threshold -- it smacks of political calculation. The opportunity to save lives of people with debilitating diseases, and to reduce suffering for them and their families, requires that a president respect the will of the people and the Congress.
History will judge this veto as a sad political calculation.
Just a few votes stand in the way. With your support we'll get them -- either now, or in the new Democratic Congress you elect in November.
When we do, we will restore hope through life-saving research and cure discovery.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.