March 5, 2024

Republican hopefuls divide over embryos

Two leading Republican politicians with presidential aspirations committed themselves to opposite sides in the bitter debate over the moral status of embryos this month. Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney vetoed a bill which would expand access to the morning-after pill, claiming that it was sometimes abortifacient. Supporters of the bill immediately claimed that this was merely a political stunt to win over Christian conservatives. “It’s totally disappointing that he would care less about women in Massachusetts than he does about his national ambitions,” said the head of the local Planned Parenthood League. Romney also recently vetoed a bill to allow embryonic stem cell research.

On the other side of the debate, Tennessee Senator Bill Frist made a surprise announcement that he would support a bill to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. By doing this, Frist, who is also Senate majority leader, has set himself up for a confrontation with President Bush, who has vowed to veto it. Frist, who has made no secret of his plans to seek the Republication nomination in 2008, was immediately criticised by Christian conservatives.