140,000 Petitions Sent to White House in Anticipation of Bush Announcement Tonight

Date: 08/09/2001

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics sent 140,000 petitions to the White House stating the following:

Dear President Bush:

I do not want my tax dollars used for research that destroys some human lives for the sake of others. Please revoke the National Institutes of Health guidelines that encourage killing human embryos for their stem cells. Instead, please support increased funding for adult stem cell research and other morally acceptable alternatives.

Signatures were collected both online and by hand in communities throughout the United States. These signatures were gathered after supporters of embryonic stem cell research announced they had obtained 14,000 signatures in favor the funding this stem cell research. Some weeks later, the petition had gathered 18,000 signatures, while the petition against embryonic stem cell research had collected almost eight times as many.

Medical progress can be furthered through adult stem cell research, which is already providing effective treatments for human patients. No such claim can be made for embryonic stem cell research. In fact, proponents of embryonic stem cell research frequently cite advances using non-embryonic sources, because they have so few embryonic stem cell successes – and none in humans – to bolster their case. The alternatives to destructive embryonic stem cell research are morally and ethically acceptable, and many scientists believe such research to be equally or more promising.

Do No Harm; The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics is a national coalition of researchers, health care professionals, bioethicists, legal professionals, and others dedicated to the promotion of scientific research and health care which does no harm to human life. Do No Harm rejects the course of action taken by the National Institutes of Health, to support destructive human embryo stem cell research. Instead, our government should promote adult stem cell research which protects the inviolability of all individuals, rejects harming some for the potential benefit of others, and holds as much, if not more promise, for medical progress.