ESCR Backers Doubt McCain Support
Advocates for greater federal funding of embryonic stem cell research are worried that John McCain will do an about-face on the controversial issue if he wins the presidency.
McCain’s presidential campaign has sought to win over religious conservatives and other factions, including activists who oppose abortion rights and stem cell research.
Rep. Mike Castle (Del.), the chief Republican sponsor of stem cell bills vetoed by President Bush, said he wasn’t sure whether a President McCain would sign stem cell research legislation.
“Based on his votes in the Senate, the answer to that is yes,” said Castle, an early supporter of McCain who endorsed the Arizona Republican senator in February 2007.
“The question becomes: Will the pro-life movement be able to persuade him otherwise between now and the election?” said Castle, who supports abortion rights.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), McCain’s rival for the presidency, has been more explicit in his support for embryonic stem cell research. Obama co-sponsored both bills vetoed by Bush and routinely raises the issue on the campaign trail. McCain is not a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Obama would act unilaterally via executive order to implement standards for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research in line with the bills Congress passed, his campaign told The Hill.
McCain’s campaign did not respond to The Hill’s questions or numerous attempts to obtain a comment for this article. In February, the campaign issued a statement to the Wisconsin State Journal standing behind his record but containing the language O’Steen quoted as evidence of McCain’s flexibility on the issue.
“John McCain does support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research,” the February statement says in part. “[H]e believes that recent scientific breakthroughs may render this debate academic,” according to the statement.
McCain’s campaign website does not state that he supports embryonic stem cell research. Instead, a statement titled “Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology” touts “promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that does not involve the use of human embryos.”
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