Falwell Called Bush Decision “Finest Hour As President”

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 23, 2001 ( – The spirit of President Bush's decision to restrict funding on embryonic stem cell research is being flouted by a recent decision by the University of California in San Francisco. It is setting up an off-campus privately funded lab to conduct embryonic stem cell experiments outside of Bush's guidelines. International journalists were confused by the length and gravity of Bush's deliberations on the stem cell decision, assuming that he was banning the actual practice of destroying human embryos for research purposes rather than only restricting public funding. However, with public facilities such as the University of California accepting tax money for approved research on campus while also going off campus for privately funded research that is ineligible for public funding, the negligible impact of Bush's restrictions is evident.

Terrence Jeffrey of Human Event magazine points out that Bush's compromise on stem cell funding is very similar to the Clinton compromise on such funding which Bush had condemned. Clinton's rules forbade the use of federal funds to destroy embryos directly, but they permitted federal research on stem cells taken from embryos by privately financed researchers. Bush's campaign spokesman had said that “The governor opposes federal funding for stem cell research that involves destroying a living human embryo,” and the Washington Post reported, “In Bush's view, Sullivan said, that (Clinton's rule) still amounts to federal support of embryo destruction.”

Bush's decision to allow funding for a certain number of already created stem cell lines, which had initiated with the intentional destruction of human embryos, says Jeffrey, is actually worse than Clinton's since “Clinton never conceded that life begins at conception.” Jeffrey's argues that Bush's thinking on the decision goes: “1) Life begins at conception, 2) embryonic stem cell research thus starts by destroying a human life, 3) but I believe the government should force taxpayers to fund that research as long as the government funding arrives after the killing has taken place.”

Despite the irrationality of the decision, various conservative leaders praised Bush for it. On the decision, Rev. Jerry Falwell said, “I believe the president made a very wise decision. I think this was his finest hour as president thus far.”