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House GOP lawmakers push prohibition on stem cell research

By CNN Congressional Correspondent Kate Snow

WASHINGTON -- Three key House Republican leaders are urging the White House to prohibit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

In a strongly worded written statement, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, House Majority Whip Tom Delay, R-Texas, and House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts, R-Oklahoma, said, "The federal government cannot morally look the other way with respect to the destruction of human embryos, then accept and pay for extracted stem cells for the purpose of medical research."

"It is not pro-life to rely on an industry of death, even if the intention is to find cures for diseases," the statement says.

The three Republican leaders urged the administration to instead pursue and promote research on adult stem cells. "We can find cures with life-affirming, not life-destroying, methods that are becoming more promising with each passing day."

Armey, Delay and Watts reflect a more conservative view on the issue of embryonic stem cell research.

A House GOP aide said the leaders wanted to respond publicly to statements made by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and others who have voiced support for embryonic stem cell research, despite also holding anti-abortion beliefs.

"We wanted to let everybody know, particularly the White House, that this is by no means a unanimous view held by pro-life Republicans," said the aide.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert did not sign the statement. A spokesman for the speaker, John Feehery, said Hastert is waiting to see what the Bush administration does.

"The speaker does not typically sign onto letters. He usually just talks to the president, one-on-one," Feehery said.

• NIH stem cell information

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