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Bush: Stem-cell research decision before fall

Bush tells reporters the timing of his stem-cell decision just outside Bethesda Naval Hospital.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush, leaving on Saturday for a monthlong vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, said he would make a decision on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research before Congress resumes.

Bush was leaving the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland after a physical examination when he made the remarks. He proclaimed himself in good shape after the exam.

Asked by reporters, as he left the hospital, about when he would decide on federal funding for stem-cell research, Bush said he would make a decision before Congress comes back in September.

It is the first indication that the president has set a deadline for when he would decide on the contentious issue.

Facing competing political pressures, Bush is weighing whether to commit tax dollars to embryonic stem-cell research.

Learn more about stem cells from the National Institutes of Health  

The controversial issue has divided Republicans opposed to abortion rights, elicited a public condemnation from the pope and rallied many scientists who say the research could provide doctors with a greater understanding of various diseases -- such as ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and diabetes -- and how they could be fought or cured.

During his recent trip to Europe, Bush said he would take his time making a decision on the issue and insisted that his private deliberations go "way beyond politics."

• Washington University School of Medicine
• Stem Cells: The International Journal of Cell Differentiation and Proliferation

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