Barack Obama on Stem Cell Research

Last Updated : Aug 02, 2012

 Summary

President Obama has been supportive of stem cell research throughout the campaign and as President.  As a Senator, Barack Obama co-sponsored the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 and 2007. President Bush signed an executive order to allow research only on human stem cells already in existence. This was done to prevent the creation of embryos for scientific research. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act would have acted to remove this restriction.

While in Congress, Senator Obama voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and against the Hope Offered through Principaled and Ethical Stem Cell Research (HOPE) Act. The HOPE Act would have removed the date restriction but ensured that no new lines were created solely for the purposes of scientific research.

During the 2008 Presidential race, Senator Obama's campaign website stated that he owed it to the American public to explore the potential of stem cells to treat the millions of people suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases. During the course of the campaign, he also spoke with megachurch pastor Rick Warren and discussed the issue. He stated that while he understood the ethical position of preventing any new lines from being created, he disagreed with the restriction.

Upon taking office, President Obama issued an executive order allowing for new lines to be created and removing the restriction that any stem cells used for research be created before a certain date.

 

Saddleback Debate

At the saddleback "debate" which was a discussion with Pastor Rick Warren, Senator Obama was asked about his position on stem cell research.  He stated that he was in favor of pursing research on embryonic stem cells if they would be discarded anyway.  He also stated that if adult stem cells we're working just as well, then there should be no reason to use embryonic stem cells.

Warren:

Senator Obama:

 

Executive Order

On March 9, 2009 President Obama singed executive order 13482 which overturned President Bush's ban on embryonic stem cell research.

 

2008 Campaign Website Statements

 

Voting Record

Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research

The final piece of legislation was dubbed the "HOPE" Act and was voted on the same day. The Hope Act (S30) shared many of the same parameters as the the Stem Cell Research Act, in that it mostly ensured that no new stem cells be created for the sole purpose of using them in research. The bill also ensured that no embryos be damaged in research. Barack Obama voted against the Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research.

Barack Obama voted against the Hope Offered through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research.

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

In April of 2007, two more stem cell related bills were voted on in the Senate. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (S5) passed with support from a vast majority of Democratic Senators and about 1/3 of the Republican Senators. The legislation required (among other things) that any research done on stem cells involve only those which already existed. Barack Obama voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

Barack Obama voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act

In July of 2006, the Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. This legislation would have allowed research on human embryonic stem cells created after President Bush's 2001 deadline. The measure passed the House and Senate, but was vetoed. It passed the Senate 63-37. Barack Obama voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

Barack Obama voted in favor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act

In July of 2006, the Senate voted unanimously to pass the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act S 2754. The bill required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to do the following three tasks: provide guidance concerning the next steps required for additional research; prioritize research with the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefit; and take into account techniques outlined by the President\'s Council on Bioethics and any other appropriate techniques and research. Barack Obama voted in favor of the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act

Barack Obama voted in favor of the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S 5; Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo. Limits such research to stem cells that meet the following ethical requirements: (1) the stem cells were derived from human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics for the purpose of fertility treatment and were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment; (2) the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded; and (3) such individuals donate the embryos with written informed consent and receive no financial or other inducements.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 471; Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.

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