In threatening a veto in January, Bush said the legislation "would use federal taxpayer dollars to support and encourage the destruction of human life for research." A White House spokesperson said that Zerhouni was free to express his opinion but that Bush would not be swayed.
Harkin applauded Zerhouni for his "courage" and "candor on a subject so important to millions of Americans suffering from illnesses such as Parkinson's, diabetes, cancer or spinal cord injuries.¿¿¿¿
"Dr. Zerhouni made a powerful statement that science, not politics should drive the discussion on lifting the ban on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research," Harkin said. "My hope is that the White House gets the message and doesn't continue to stand in the way of progress."