Shirley Pozdro, of Lawrence, just happened to turn on the television Wednesday to see President Bush announce that he vetoed legislation that would have increased embryonic stem cell research.
While Bush surrounded himself with supporters of his veto, Pozdro was not applauding.
"I respect and understand his position, but for those of us having a hard time - quality of life is for all life," said Pozdro, who at 73 has suffered with Parkinson's disease for the past 16 years.
Supporters of more research vowed to keep fighting, saying the research holds the promise of finding cures for deadly and debilitating diseases.
Lori Hutfles, executive director of the Kansas Center for Lifesaving Cures, said the veto was expected.
"The reality is, this research is going forward," Hutfles said. "When there is a new Congress and a new president, this will be back."
But not if Kansas' senators have anything to say about it. On Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Republicans, voted against the measure.
Sen. Brownback stem cell issue
Sounding the same criticisms as Bush, Brownback said embryonic stem cell research was immoral because it requires the destruction of human embryos to extract the stem cells. He also said it was unnecessary, citing the success of adult stem cells and umbilical cord stem cell research.
"The federal government should not use public funds for unethical embryonic stem cell research in light of the fact that adult and cord blood stem cell research has yielded 72 peer-reviewed treatments for conditions ranging from spinal injuries to leukemia," Brownback said.
Backers of the legislation, however, argued that stem cells from embryos hold more medical potential.
More about the bill
- On the street: Do you think President Bush should veto the stem cell research bill?
- President vetoes stem cell research
- Research advocates vow to fight on
- Congressional Briefing blog: Brownback bill promotes adult stem cells (07-17-06)
- Stem cell research bill gains support (07-17-06)
- Congress sets up first veto showdown, on stem cells (07-17-06)
- Washingtonpost.com - Overview of HR 810
- Library of Congress: H.R. 810
Roberts issued a one-sentence statement, saying, "I do not support expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research because of the ongoing ethical concerns expressed by many taxpayers with such research."
Although the legislation to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research was approved by hefty margins in the House and Senate, there were not enough votes to gain the two-thirds majorities to override Bush's veto.
A majority of Americans, including abortion opponents, support more embryonic stem cell research. The bill would have allowed federal funding on stem cells derived from frozen embryos, scheduled for destruction, stored at fertility clinics.
Pozdro noted that despite Bush's stance, the research will continue in other countries.
"I'm trying to look on the positive side," she said. "We'd like to have the answers and solutions to this problem as soon as we could. One minute sooner is better."