What Bush decided on Aug. 9, 2001 was a first: federal funding of research on the some 78 embryonic stem cell lines that had already been created through private research. His decision upholds 1996 law that prohibits the government to pay for the destruction of human embryos in order to create stem cell lines for research.
Already, $25 million have been spent toward embryonic stem-cell research. The government is also considering to spend millions more to construct a facility to speed the research by creating a controlled environment for the cells to grow.
However, proponents of embryonic stem-cell research believe the policy prevents scientists from discovering cures to a plethora of diseases, such as Alzhiemer’s, which the late President Ronald Reagan suffered from.
Opponents, many of whom believe harvesting stem cells from days-old embryos for research is killing, say adult stem-cell research has shown more promise, having already led to the cure of 45 diseases.
"We don't even know that stem cell research will provide cures for anything -- much less that it's very close" to making any medical breakthroughs, according to First Lady Laura Bush on Aug. 9.