By Peter J. Smith

  WASHINGTON, D.C., October 9, 2007 ( – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has promised to sign an executive order overturning President Bush’s restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research once she is elected President.

  The former First Lady and current junior senator from New York told her audience at the Carnegie Institution for Science that President Bush was waging a “war on science” that hindered the United States from becoming the “innovation nation.”

“I will lift the current ban on ethical stem cell research,” Clinton said. “The president’s ban on stem cell funding amounts to a ban on hope.”

  However the US has no actual ban on embryonic stem cell research. Regulations established by the Bush administration in August 2001 prohibit researchers from using federal funds to create new lines of embryonic stem cells, but it does not hinder private companies from funding their work.

“In her rush to attack the president, Hillary Clinton has conveniently forgotten that George W. Bush is the only president who has ever made federal money available for stem cell research,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz according to Reuters.

  Clinton’s speech also gave the impression that “ethical” stem cell research was synonymous with embryonic stem cell research, although this premise is hotly contested within the scientific community. A number of stem cell researchers reject on a practical basis any need to drive into ethically dubious territory, since stem cell therapies are continuing to be produced from non-controversial sources (e.g. adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood). On the other hand, the promise of cures from experimentation with embryonic stem cells is filled with more hot air than hope, since the cells derived from the destruction of a human embryo are naturally designed to work in the fast-developing embryonic environment and have been shown to be incompatible and tumor-causing in adult tests.

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